Alibaba Pictures Group Limited has acquired a majority stake in online movie ticketing platform TicketNew, the company has announced. Ramkumar Nammalvar, CEO and founder of TicketNew, will continue to head the business for the company. Nammalvar said that Alibaba plans to invest to the tune of Rs 120 crores over a period of time. Note that, according to Mint, the deal value of the transaction is $35 million for a 70-75% equity stake.
(Nikhil adds: It’s worth noting that Chennai based TicketNew isn’t a new company: the company, Orbgen Technologies, was incorporated in 2007, and it’s one of the many ticketing sites in India. What’s particularly noteworthy of Alibaba’s investment in TicketNew is that this is an area that another Alibaba investee company, Paytm, is also very aggressive about. Paytm sold 3 million movie tickets monthly last year. There were reports, last month, of Paytm acquiring stake in OML’s ticketing business Insider.in, to take on the largest player in this market: BookMyShow. Why would Alibaba acquire a company in a space that it already has an investment?)
TicketNew claims to have a presence in over 300 countries and more than 3000 screens listed; a large part of this appears to be a platform business, rather than a consumer facing business: like BookMyShow, TicketNew also has an ERP solution (called Box Office), which that helps theaters optimize their operations. Other than this it offers mobile apps and customised web solutions to theatres. It charges a fee of Rs 20-30 from users for booking tickets. It also charges a fee from the theatre owners for software installation and app development. Other than India, it has offices in US and Europe as well.
We checked and on the consumer front, we noticed only noticed screens listed in India, and a majority of them in Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Maharashtra, Haryana, Telangana and Tamil Nadu.
Alibaba Pictures is the entertainment arm of e-commerce major Alibaba Group. It has been expanding its businesses beyond China with offices in Los Angeles, USA and had been looking to expand its footprints in Asia-Pacific regions, as per the press statement.
TicketNew competes with BookMyShow. BookMyshow has acquired four companies, MastiTickets in January this year, Fantain Sports in March last year, Eventfiler in February 2016 and TicketGreen in 2013. It also acquired majority stake in Townsript a DIY event registration company. It expanded its services to Indonesia and Srilanka last year. For FY16, it reported revenues of Rs 235.94 crores, with a profit of Rs 3.17 crore. Network18, at the end of the last financial year, owned 39.35% of BookMyShow (source, Network18 Annual report, page 183). An average of 7.8 million tickets were sold per month in 2015-16.