Indian online movie and event ticket booking platform BookMyShow has fired 200 employees amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic that has squashed the demand for movie theaters and offline entertainment activities.
The layoff comes a year after the Mumbai-headquartered firm let go of 270 people during the first wave of COVID-19. Before the pandemic, the company had about 1,500 people on its payroll.
“COVID-19 has taught me many lessons & I learned another one today. As we let go of 200 of the most incredibly talented & performance-driven individuals, each & everyone has messaged me, thanking me for the opportunity, expressing their love for @bookmyshow, and asking me if they could help,” co-founder and CEO Ashish Hemrajani tweeted on Thursday evening.
For the impacted employees, Hemrajani sought leads for new job opportunities on the micro-blogging website.
“These 200 folks were handpicked & curated over the years and had surrounded themselves with the highest values of culture, performance, and empathy,” he said. “They will contribute incredibly to the growth of your wonderful firms. I’m sure we will all come out stronger.”
The recent layoffs are expected to help the company stay afloat amid the second wave of COVID-19 and the muted demand for its offline offerings over the next few months.
BookMyShow was launched in August 2007 by the Mumbai-headquartered company, Bigtree Entertainment Pvt., which operated as a software re-seller for movie theaters since its inception in 1999. Over the last 14 years, the company has emerged as India’s leading online movie booking platform, selling tickets for movies, plays, sports, and entertainment activities. It counts Accel, TPG Growth, Elevation Capital, and Capital18, among others, as investors.
Since March 2020, when COVID-19 first hit India, BookMyShow witnessed its revenues drying up. In a bid to create new revenue streams, the company rolled out the transactional video-on-demand streaming platform BookMyShow Stream in February 2021. Its new service lets people rent or buy movies from a catalog of 600 movie titles and 72,000 hours of content.
Aside from BookMyShow, a flurry of high-profile Indian startups also announced massive layoffs last year to extend their cash runways. The list includes SoftBank-backed hospitality chain Oyo, cab-hailing giants Uber and Ola, food tech unicorns Swiggy and Zomato, fitness and gym startup Curefit, social e-commerce platform Meesho, online travel agent MakeMyTrip, and regional social media platform Sharechat. However, this year, many local startups were better prepared to deal with the second COVID-19 wave. Rather than firing employees, they put together a host of measures for their well-being, including financial and medical support.