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Kyazoonga CEO Neetu Bhatia On Offline Tie-Ups, Self Service Events Platform, Mobile Apps

Following the launch of its Do-It-Yourself self service ticketing platform, Neetu Bhatia, Chairman and co-founder of online ticketing solutions provider, Kyazoonga spoke with us about the need for a DIY platform, competetion, managing event ticketing, among other challenges.

On the competitive landscape in ticketing : Bhatia says she doesn’t see much competition in the segment (Ed: what about BookMyShow?). She feels that ticketing isn’t just about getting a web presence and payment gateway in place: “There are a lot of complex processes involved at the back-end, not just from a products and operations platform perspective but also for supporting the entire process from soup to nuts,” she said. She mentioned that administering tickets gets sticky and that there’s pressure from all ends, but Kyazoonga used a centralised inventory platform, for real-time sales updates and transparency in reporting. This also allows organisers to check pilferage.

On Minimum guarantees for event ticketing: Kyazoonga does not take inventory risk and the risk of the inventory always lies with the organizer. “We’ll stay away from taking the principle risk of inventory. What you’re trying to say is that you just care about the money and not about the brand experience and quality of the attendees,” said Bhatia.

So why not adopt a hybrid (offline-online) sales model?: While Kyazoonga has partnerships with the likes of Bharat Petroleum (for IPL ticketing) and books and music store, Landmark, at times there were conflicts as sponsors turn out to be competitors. Bhatia says that retail chains like Landmark have access to major part of the inventory, and everything that’s online can be activated but people tend to go online for non-event tickets.

On the problems that Kyazoonga encountered after the Bryan Adams concert got cancelled: ” I think it was a massive success, since we worked forward as well as backward, and refunded multiple crores of event proceeds. It was not Kyazoonga’s fault that the concert got cancelled, but as ticketing partners we provide access and in turn become the first line of defence. But it helps us evolve and prepares us for the future,” she added.

On the site crashing at the time of the Cricket World Cup finals: Bhatia said that supply and demand is always lopsided for Cricket events, and that there were 10 million people scouting for 1,000 tickets, so it was expected. She added that even if they had access to 30,000 tickets there would still be more people who’d not get them. Also, organizers impose restrictions such as 4 tickets per match per person, and not Kyazoonga, but since it was the face of the event it was willing to take the brickbats. She drew parallels with TicketMaster’s site crashing when ticket sales for the Olympics started, even at a low demand.

On Kyazoonga’s revenue: Bhatia declined to disclose Kyazoonga’s revenue but said that the company has witnessed triple digit growth in multiples over the last few years, and has been profitable for the last two fiscals. Presently the site has an inventory of 30,000 SKUs and aims at 50,000 SKUs by next quarter.

On iTicket: While the company focuses on big ticket events, it felt that there was a need for an online ticketing solution for organizers who were not able to afford Kyazoonga’s service fee or just the scale, and since they had a backend already in place, Kyazoonga launched the DIY ticketing service, with organizers getting the benefit of publishing the event on the site. “We started with a wine and cheese kind of an event in South Mumbai where the entry ticket was around Rs 600, then we also had an LIC agent convention where it was Rs 6,000.”

On movie ticketing & apps: Kyazoonga was still doing movie ticketing and plans to launch mobile apps for Android, iOS and BlackBerry in the next 7-10 days. The site did have SMS and GPRS based apps earlier, but there have been changes in the architecture following the changes in regulations from a payments perspective, so the new apps would be based on the updated platform. She declined to comment on the number of screens saying that negotiations were still on. For movie ticketing, the site plugs into the inventory of the movie theatre using middle-ware since the theatre is the owner of the inventory, against events ticketing where the entire inventory is under Kyazoonga.

Whether Kyazoonga plans to launch table booking or restaurant events: Bhatia responded that majority of Indians tend not to call for table booking and even restaurants were not fully equipped, so the company might consider it depending on the economics of demand and supply, and the technology at the last mile in the future.

On Yatra’s acquisition of BuzzInTown:Bhatia does not see BuzzInTown as competition. Responding to our question, she said she didn’t feel threatened by the entry of travel based commerce players like Yatra in the segment because Kyazoonga has been in the game for a long time and ticketing required a different level of platform support. Kyazoonga does not plan to get into travel in the near term. “We don’t want to be all things to all people. We want to deliver within the verticals that we’ve chosen to operate in. Our platform is scalable and we look for growth but we’re not sure if travel provides us that growth,” she said.

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