With coronavirus pandemic-led disruption in the movie-going experience, online ticket booking platform BookMyShow (BMS) has rolled out a global online streaming feature that allows consumers to access live entertainment shows from their homes.
Through 'BookMyShow Online', the company is offering both paid and free performances across music, comedy and other performing arts. This will be an extension of the live entertainment experiences produced by BMS.
The streaming feature will run across BookMyShow's app and web platforms, and host a smooth experience for over 50,000 concurrent viewers per minute at any given point. The company is also testing the feature to take it to one lakh concurrent viewers.
"We sensed a shift in our users' appetite for entertainment during this lockdown, and we were agile enough to change track by introducing virtual in-home entertainment offerings in India and other global markets," BookMyShow co-founder and Director Parikshit Dar told PTI.
The streaming platform offers customisation, massive scale for concurrent viewing and complete security of content. It has partnered with Brightcove, a video technology platform provider, as the underlying video streaming technology that powers the use case for BookMyShow Online.
The COVID-19 pandemic has put a hold on not just movie releases and screening but also production, which has impacted the business of BMS.
Dar said, while movie bookings may commence from August-September (depending on COVID-19 situation), live streaming of events will continue to be an important part of the business.
The company is currently testing the feature to take the capacity to one lakh concurrent viewers. "...The platform is built for scale... The tech allows us the ability to spin up multiple live events with our live streaming capability, enhance the user experience and provide a lightning-fast video player for streaming content," he said.
Dar added that, at present, the monetisation aspect is a pay-per-view format but the company is also working on a subscription model that will be rolled out over the next few months.
He noted that BMS Online is built to upkeep security and ownership of content via watermarking, download restriction and copyright.
It also allows users to manually change the quality (HD or lower) depending on their bandwidth, language settings, visual settings and subtitling where applicable on the content among other features.
The company has streamed well over 750 online events through its own and third-party platforms in the first three months and is adding between 100 and 150 events daily now.
Dar said when BMS had started the virtual events offering, it was doing free events for the first month to gauge audience interests across entertainment genres. As of today, about 65 per cent of virtual events on BMS are behind a paywall, while the remaining are free events.
Categories that are doing well include comedy, music, educational masterclasses for upskilling, and international music concerts featuring global artists, such as those in partnership with Live Nation have had a strong uptake, Dar said.
"With all our virtual events, customer engagement was phenomenal with close to four million people viewing these events within the first four weeks itself. This number is steadily rising with close to half a million viewers taking to these each week, thus having reached several tens of millions of users," Dar said.
BMS' new streaming feature for live entertainment has hosted over 30 events at scale, including the first-ever global virtual tours of Latin musician Willie Gomez, Australian pop band The Buckleys as also American music artist Taylor Castro's performances, among others.
BMS Online will stream India's first ever virtual music festival – Sunburn Home Festival - on July 11-12, 2020. It will cater to users in India as well as those customers using the platform across the US and North America, the UK, Germany, UAE, South East Asia, and West Indies.