GVO Interview With BookMyShow Bossman Kunal Khambhati On Ed Sheeran, AR Rahman & More

Posted at December 14th, 2017 | by Shivani Goel | in Entertainment, Featured, Interviews

BookMyShow has far superseded being just a ticketing platform and now they’ve got events like Ed Sheeran and the AR Rahman tour under their belt. We caught up with Kunal Khambhati, the head of live events and picked him brain about all things related!


GVO: From Sunburn Festival to BookMyShow, how has the journey been so far? 

Kunal: The journey has been quite a roller coaster ride. There’s always so much to learn with every new company and job profile. I was earlier associated with Percept Ltd. for about a decade where I focused on conceptualizing, growth and monetization of high octane IPs like Sunburn so much so that the event is touted among top three dance music festivals in the world in a short span of just five years. I also strategically used and harnessed the strength of digital media to achieve this, while also collaborating with brands such as Google, Facebook, Lenovo & Viacom to take the user experience to the next level. Over the years, I have been associated in planning and execution of some of the other popular live events in India including Sensation, Unite by Tomorrowland, Guest list events, Bollyboom, Windsong, Fly music festival and many more. At BookMyShow, I am leading live events and intellectual property development for all markets including India, Indonesia and Sri Lanka where BookMyShow has its foothold. This role is far more challenging with the scale being so massive and the scope of experimentation and growth being more elaborate. 



GVO: BMS has recently started venturing into Live Events. Ed Sheeran was a huge success. Tell us more about how such a massive event came to be? 

Kunal: It was a joint collaboration between AEG Presents and PR Worldwide in association with BookMyShow. India is clearly emerging as a live entertainment destination, with fans here showing immense promise and appetite for international musical acts. BookMyShow was very excited to be a part of this journey with concert promoters and together we definitely put Indian on the global entertainment map by providing access to millions of fans.



GVO: What were the biggest challenges you faced in pulling off an event of this scale?

Kunal: Months of preparation goes behind an event of this scale. The biggest challenge, therefore, is to make sure that all teams that have been so far working in silos are brought together at the right time, in the right manner for exceptional results. The city administration and Government also were extremely supportive ensuring that the event went off smoothly and the fans had the time of their lives.




GVO: What do you think about the current Live Music & Events scenario in India? 

Kunal: It is definitely on an expansive mode with India showing tremendous demand for such events. The last couple of years have definitely made artists management companies across the world to take note of the standard of events that have been successfully organized in India right. We have had Coldplay, Jay Z, Justin Bieber, Demi Lovato, Ed Sheeran, Chainsmokers perform in India and the fan experience at these events has been unmatched. We expect this trend to further diversify and hope to see not just musical acts but other entertainment acts also making their way into India. . Event management has now truly transformed into experience creation with amalgamation of technology, ideas and content. 


GVO: Do you think people prefer buying tickets or looking for various jugaads to get it for free? Which city do you think has the most jugaad culture? 

Kunal: True fans always purchase their tickets as they believe the only way of showing their fan love and loyalty is by giving an artist the respect he deserves. When tickets are being exclusively sold on BookMyShow, a ticket holder can only enter the event venue premises if the ticket is legitimate and read by our turnstiles. This, along with other security layers, contribute in ensuring fans have an incredible time at the event.


GVO: Tell us about the Rahman tour. How have the shows been so far, what can we expect in the upcoming shows? 

Kunal: The shows have witnessed windfall success and have packed in close to 20,000 attendees each in Hyderabad and Ahmedabad. From cutting edge production to state of the art technology, every show has been well acknowledged by fans,  state and local authorities as an event par excellence. 




GVO: What major tour plans are brewing up next? Any hints you can give us? 

Kunal: As we continue to work on more such events, fans can continue browsing on BookMyShow and choose from thousands of entertainment options. Some key upcoming events are Arijit Singh’s India tour, VH1 Supersonic, James Blunt tour among others.




GVO: We’ve seen BMS aggressively promoting itself as a ticketing partner. What developments can we expect in the events segment? 

Kunal: Even as ticketing partners, we bring immense value to the table. We have been in the entertainment business for over a decade now and we harness the insights that we have drawn over this time by effectively using our data and analytical capabilities to reach out to the right target audience for each event. We already do on-ground management of some of the biggest events in the country such as IPL, Justin Bieber, The Global Citizen Festival India featuring Coldplay among others.


GVO: You have the consumer base and market trust. Is there any other market that BMS is planning to break into?

Kunal: BookMyShow has already set its foot in Indonesia and Sri Lanka and have been receiving great initial response. We look forward to replicating the best practices and learnings from the Indian market and thereby, redefining online entertainment ticketing in these regions as well.

Shivani Goel

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