RadioandMusic
| 27 Nov 2020
Girish 'Bobby' Talwar joins Bookmyshow as VP Live but will continue as consultant for friends

Founding member of rock band, Zero and co-founder of Only Much Louder (OML), Girish 'Bobby' Talwar has joined Bookmyshow as VP Live. Being a promoter and event organiser in the past, he plans to use his knowledge in making ticketing a viable model to all promoters in the event industry. The designation was created specifically for Talwar, and in his new role, Talwar will report to CEO Ashish Hemrajani with whom he is working closely to develop a creative process and business model.

Before exploring the music industry as a musician, Talwar started off as a lawyer with a specialisation in media and entertainment. He started his journey in the music industry with rock band, Zero and later joined hands with Vijay Nair. Not long after, Talwar and Nair founded OML, a platform for indie musicians. Other highlights of his career include being a judge at Channel [V]’s Launchpad. In 2007, he won the title of the ‘Indian Young Music Entrepreneur of the Year’.

In a conversation with Radioandmusic.com, he talks about his plan for Bookmyshow.

Excerpts:

How did the association with Bookmyshow take place?

Being with OML as the co-founder, I spent a good amount of time there building a brand. We were building NH7, OML and other properties. After being there for almost ten years, I felt that I had achieved what I had set out with for OML. I wanted to explore new opportunities that were available in the event space, but was unsure what that would be. When I decided to leave the company, the timing was right because investors were looking at the event space at that point of time. I was able to exit successful because of the CA Media team.

For a year, I was dabbling with travelling and took a year off, had interesting conversations with people. I knew Ashish from Bookmyshow and I started talking to him about event opportunities. Then, I looked at ticketing and sponsorship, an area which I had not explored. Almost 50-60 per cent of revenue comes from ticket sales. I was interested in this area and that is how I started talking to Ashish. It has been three months now and I am still trying to understand how the ticketing universe functions.

What is your vision for Bookmyshow?

It is really difficult if you are the biggest player in the market and you are the number. The challenge is to provide solutions to promoters and event organisers, and to bring more value to them merely through providing service as a ticket provider. It also about bringing experience that is excellent. We have seen that audiences in the space are not easy, and neither is the industry.

Will you help create policies at Bookmyshow that will be flexible for organisers, considering you were on the other side of business?

I have actually stepped over to the other side of business now. But when I was in the business as a promoter, I did not think there was anything that Bookmyshow had to change. There are lot of things to learn from time to time like the pace at which the market is growing, changing structure and offers. These things will be a constant flux. With an intension to improve the overall service I think things will continue to change. I do not think we have to drastically change the wheel that is already functioning well.

Will you continue your role as a consultant?

The scope of my work I see in Bookmyshow is quite cut-out, but that does not mean that I will say no to any of my friends. It will continue to happen for a long time.

The Maharashtra Government will look at single window clearances for live events after the motion for film shooting comes in place. What is your view on it?

To be honest if the single window clearance comes into place, it will be the single most important change for the last 50 years of the entire events industry and for the next 50 years.

The many reasons that dubious practices exist is because of the number of middle-men that exist for particular licenses. If that is cut down to one body or organisation, it means that all the middlemen will be cut out and processes will be smoother. It will help promoters get all the required licenses from one location rather than multiple locations.

At the same time, if authorities issue permanent licenses/ NOCs for certain locations or certain kinds of events, it can drastically improve and boost the event industry in general. This will cut away a lot of malpractices that are currently overshadowing the event space. The fact that you are creating such pockets and loops and multiple layers, will streamline everything. It is actually time that we implement single window clearance if we want the industry to grow to the next level.

What are challenges in the space?

Infrastructure is the biggest challenge in the event space as there is no infrastructure that can support events on a regular basis. All event organisers are looking at the next big ground or open space or parking lot. There is no real permanent infrastructure that allows one to plug and play music.

Vendors who are providing infrastructure with lights and sounds, have drastically increased and improved in the last ten years. We are close to, if not at power with some of the biggest suppliers in the world. Today, we can have the biggest concerts that the world as ever seen over here, keeping in mind the lights and sound infrastructure, even though there is a big lacuna for venues.

From a performer’s perspective, getting acts to India, visas and licenses is yet another clearance that you require. That becomes a huge issue as they are coming to India just to perform and with no other reason. It requires applications and NOCs in different cities which also need to be streamlined.

From the audience’s perspective, it is about great experience. We at Bookmyshow have been able to address some of these issues but it will be a win-win only if we get all the stakeholders together. Finally, we have seen improvement in individual verticals and hopefully in five years’ time, we will be there.

There are many ticketing companies like Insider and Meraevents who have become aggressive with live events. Comment

At some point in time, the event industry will have a bigger market and we will see that market has grown and that being a promoter is a viable business. Today, we see more and more people entering the ticketing space as a good sign because when more people enter the market, it is a vibrant market and there are more opportunities. There will be more events and more buyers.

How do you plan to enter into other live business like sports?

At Bookmyshow, there are very clear verticals and sports is a clear vertical. It is fairly nascent ticketing market, except for an IPL event. There are lots of opportunities in the sport space. However, in the events space we have seen ticketed events for last ten years which shows that it is an evolved model.

My plan is to work closely with promoters and event organisers to see how they can generate revenues from ticketing models, and in turn provide better experiences to audiences. I am hoping that through interesting ticketing models and creative processes that we put in place, we are going to be able to have events with 100 per cent ticketing revenue model. It should help promoters to have events where they do not to have to depend on sponsors. I am in talks with many promoters for this and most of them are close friends, and we building ways on how we can create a viable model.

Will Bookmyshow get into making its own IPs?

At this point of time, I am actually keen on working with people who already have IPs and help them to grow to a next level. But as the line goes, ‘Never say Never’, so I will not say ‘never’.