movie ticketing website soft-launched in April 2007, will soon launch its social media feature, KyaYaar. The site is in beta and yet to be formally launched, but already, competition is growing. Websites like Bookeazy and Ghoomo offer online movie ticket bookings and the latest to enter the scene is BookMyShow, backed by TV18. However, Neetu Bhatia, co-founder and CEO of KyaZoonga, is confident that the way forward is to engage users in a conversation. "You don't want people to come to the site, book a ticket and leave," she says.
That's why KyaYaar will let a close network of friends exchange notes on movies. As the community grows, KyaZoonga will add a people search tool to allow members to search for their friends and other people with similar interests in movies. "Watching a movie in India is a group activity. You usually go for a movie with your friends or family," says Bhatia. KyaYaar will also make it easier for friends on a network to do group bookings.
The company is planning to run a media campaign on radio, outdoor and the Internet to "make KyaZoonga a household name", in Bhatia's words. The website will add a SMS booking feature soon.
Though this category of e-commerce websites is still in a nascent stage, it remains to be seen how these movie ticketing websites will differentiate themselves. Subhanker Sarker, COO of Seventymm, a movie rental website, thinks that social media is the key. "If such websites provide forums for sharing opinions on movies and generally 'hanging around', people are more likely to book a ticket. The interactivity is much higher online, so you could look at features like movie trailers and other related content," he says.
That's what the success story of international websites like Fandango and IMDb have been, which provide fora for movie fans to converse about the latest movies. It may take a while for their Indian versions to get their 'act' right.