Ashish Hemrajani: From Inconvenience to Innovation in the Entertainment Industry

In the days of yore, booking movie tickets was a labyrinthine ordeal—queues, uncertainty, and the perpetual risk of missing out on the latest cinematic gems. Then, Ashish Hemrajani, the visionary behind BookMyShow, entered, rewriting the script of inconvenience and ushering in a new era of seamless entertainment experiences for millions. The founder and CEO of BookMyShow dissolved the inconveniences and reshaped the entire entertainment ticketing landscape, weaving together a narrative of innovation, resilience, and societal impact.

Ashish’s journey began with a solid foundation.Having been born in 1975, he attended Maneckji Cooper Education Trust for his schooling and pursued his undergraduate studies at Mithibai College, Juhu His pursuit of knowledge led him to specialise in marketing at the College of Commerce and Economics, Sydenham, culminating in an MBA. This educational journey laid the groundwork for a career that would mark his success and redefine an entire industry.

Armed with a marketing degree, Ashish entered the professional arena in 1997 with J. Walter Thompson. His initial years were spent navigating the intricacies of account and client management, providing him with a hands-on understanding of the dynamics of the industry. Little did he know that these experiences would become the cornerstone of a revolutionary venture.

However, BookMyShow’s genesis can be traced back to 1999, when Ashish founded Bigtree Entertainment, the parent company that would go on to transform the entertainment ticketing landscape in India. This venture was not just a business endeavor but a response to the cumbersome process of booking movie tickets, plagued by endless queues and the uncertainty of ticket availability.

BookMyShow, under Ashish’s leadership, has grown to become India’s number-one online ticket-booking platform for concerts, movies, plays, sports, and live events. Today, it holds a commanding 90% market share in the online entertainment ticketing space. This wasn’t just a triumph for the company but a seismic shift in how people experienced and interacted with entertainment. Accolades soon followed, with Ashish being honoured as the BW Applause Person of the Year and the “Executive of the Year 2018” at The Ticketing Business Awards in Manchester, England. These recognitions were celebrations of personal success and acknowledgments of the transformative impact BookMyShow had on the industry.

Beyond the accolades, Ahish is a vocal advocate for embracing failure as a milestone in the entrepreneurial journey. His principles of common sense, integrity, and social responsibility echo not only in his leadership style but also in the very fabric of BookMyShow’s ethos. It’s not just about providing a service; it’s about doing so with a commitment to values that resonate with both employees and customers.

BookMyShow’s financial triumphs under Ashish’s stewardship are nothing short of compelling. The company’s revenue surged from Rs 130 crore to an impressive Rs 240 crore. Monthly ticket sales ranged from 12 to 15 million, and the gross merchandise value (GMV) reached a remarkable Rs 2,500 crore. These numbers reflect the company’s financial success and the widespread adoption and reliance on the platform by millions of users.

Leaders’ resilience is often tested during times of adversity, and Ashish’s mettle shone during the dot-com bust in 2001. Faced with challenges, he strategically reduced Bigtree Entertainment’s headcount by 96%, a pivotal move that ensured the company’s survival and laid the groundwork for future triumphs. It was a lesson in adaptability and strategic decision-making that would define his leadership.

Looking ahead, BookMyShow, under Ashish’s foresight, is evolving to stay ahead of the entertainment curve. Initiatives like BookMyShow Stream (Transaction Video-on-Demand) and BookMyShow Live showcase the company’s commitment to innovation. As the entertainment landscape constantly changes, Ashish’s ability to anticipate shifts and adapt the business model accordingly ensures BookMyShow remains at the forefront of industry trends. Beyond business success, Hemrajani’s impact extends to society. His commitment to creating employment opportunities and fostering a culture of giving back within the company underscores a holistic approach to success. BookMyShow isn’t just a platform; it’s a community contributing to societal well-being.

To say it another way, Ashish not only revolutionised ticket booking in India, making BookMyShow India’s premier online entertainment platform but also created a path for several others to follow. As BookMyShow continues to evolve, it remains a symbol of excellence in customer satisfaction and a beacon of innovation in the ever-changing entertainment landscape. In the tapestry of India’s entrepreneurial success stories, Hemrajani’s narrative stands as a vibrant thread, weaving together the aspirations, challenges, and triumphs of a leader who dared to reimagine the future.

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