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Indonesia’s film industry renaissance is one Indian startup’s opportunity

Techinasia.com – Indonesia’s movie industry is about to experience a sea change, and Indian event ticketing company BookMyShow came to catch the wave.

The Mumbai-born startup launched a localized version of its site in Indonesia on Wednesday. It lets users buy movie tickets online and offers movie-related content and ratings. “We see a big cinema opportunity in Indonesia,” says Sudhir Syal, one of the two co-founders of BookMyShow Indonesia. “The ratio of screens per capita here is one of the lowest in the region.”

Indonesia has only 0.2 screens per 1,000 people, he says. By contrast, India has 1 to 2 screens per 1,000 people. Malaysia is high as well with a ratio of 1.2. “In Indonesia, especially the smaller towns have no entertainment, no cinemas,” Sudhir points out.

Then, earlier this year, the Indonesian government announced plans to open up the movie theater and film production industry to foreign investment. That was made official just a few days ago. Only 5 percent of moviegoers buy their ticket online. In India, it’s 30 percent.

Sudhir believes Indonesian film fans are in for a fun ride in the coming years – he expects local filmmaking culture to flourish and smaller screens to pop up around the country, not just in major cities.

When this happens, Sudhir wants to take part. He sees much room for improvement in the way people buy movie tickets in Indonesia. Only 5 percent of moviegoers buy their ticket online before the show instead of queuing up and hoping for a seat on the spot. In India, as much as 30 percent use online tickets to secure a seat. “Taking those 5 to 30 percent is an opportunity, that’s a reason to be here,” says Sudhir.

For cinemas, working with an online ticketing system like BookMyShow holds various advantages. They’ll know much more about their customers, which means they can target them with special offers. The goal is to achieve better occupancy, especially on weekdays, when it’s traditionally tough for theaters to fill seats.

Clicktime.euTheaters can improve their occupancy by up to 7 percent, though it’s usually lower. But even an increase by 1 percent means a lot to theaters, he says. Each customer equals more money spent on food and beverages, and lets theaters charge advertisers more.

Sudhir’s co-founding partner at BookMyShow Indonesia is Karan Khetan, who first came to the archipelago with Rocket Internet’s property portal Lamudi. He met Sudhir at business school in Singapore, and the two came up with the plan to launch BookMyShow in Indonesia. We can reach people who buy online tickets for the first time.

That was a couple of months ago. Since then, Sudhir and Karan got the legal stuff sorted, hired a team of 20 people, and traveled the country to find out how people in smaller towns experience entertainment in movies theaters.

The startup tested its movie ticket booking site in small towns first before launching across the nation. In Kediri and Tulungagung, two small towns on the island of Java, they sold over 1,000 movie tickets for screenings of Captain America, in partnership with a small cinema chain. Click here for more www.techinasia.com