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BookMyShow reimagines large-scale events starting with Sunburn Festival

After having their best month in January, online ticketing and events platform BookMyShow saw their revenue come crashing in April as the entire country went into a lockdown. This is when they knew they had to fast-track some of their plans and look for creative ways to make the best of the pandemic-hit scenario. 

Fast forward to this weekend and BookMyShow is going to host a virtual Sunburn Festival, the popular electronic dance music event, for users to experience from the comfort of their homes. Titled as the ‘Sunburn Home Festival,’ it will feature DJs performing from across the globe and is expected to be watched by a few thousands of people spread across two days. The platform claims to be the first-of-its-kind to be doing something like this in India.   

“We have tried to reimagine Sunburn as a virtual property and this is the first time we are doing something like this on this scale,” said Parikshit Dar, co-founder and director of BookMyShow. “It will have different kinds of virtual immersive experiences such as 3D and VR (virtual reality).”

Sunburn isn’t the only festival that will take place virtually. Later this month, Tomorrowland, a Belgium electronic dance music festival is expected to be held online for people to watch from across the globe. Last month, Entrackr had written about how many nightclubs in China were turning to live-streaming apps such as Kwai and TikTok to keep their revenue flow going.  

The Covid-19 pandemic has had many companies go back to the drawing board and reevaluate their strategies. Many have adapted quickly. BookMyShow, which launched its live streaming platform earlier this month has been looking at ways to provide in-home entertainment to its users since the pandemic hit earlier this year.

The company informally launched virtual events a few months ago as a way to gauge the response of the audience and slowly moved 65% of its events behind a paywall. Over the last three months, the platform added some 750 events across genres ranging from comedy and music to educational masterclass, among others. Since then the live-streaming platform has seen around half a million viewers each week.

While the company is bullish on the virtual events industry, they hope to have a mix of both virtual and in-person events whenever life returns to normalcy. “We did not look at live streaming as a business strategy in itself. We are looking at it as an add-on to the whole event going experience, whenever it comes back,” added Dar.

BookMyShow was one of the worst-hit companies in the industry alongside ride-hailing and bike-sharing, as its main source of revenue involved people stepping out of their homes. As a result, in May it had laid off and furloughed around one-fifth of its workforce, amounting to 270 employees. 

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