Sep 30, 2022

CCI Directs Investigation Against Big Tree Entertainment Pvt. Ltd. (BookMyShow)

On June 16, 2022, the CCI issued a prima facie order against Big Tree Entertainment Pvt. Ltd.(‘BookMyShow’) for allegedly abusing its dominant position by executing exclusive agreements with various cinemas. [1]

The complaint was filed by Mr. Vijay Gopal (‘Informant’), founder of an online movie ticketing portal, Showtyme, against BookMyShow and a number of other cinema theatre owners. The Informant also arrayed Principal Secretary, Home Department, State of Telangana; Hyderabad City Police Commissioner (Cinemas Licensing Authority for Hyderabad); Telangana State Film Development Corporation Ltd and Central Consumer Protection Council respectively.

The Informant alleged that BookMyShow: (i) entered into unfair exclusive agreements with certain cinemas in Hyderabad; (ii) restricted such cinemas from listing their tickets on other e-ticketing platforms like Showtyme; (iii) is offering huge cash loans/ monetary deposits at a zero-interest rate to the theatres; (iv) offering more than 50% of total tickets to customers through online booking; and (v) is charging extremely high convenience fee for booking tickets online through its website. Due to such a conduct, theatres are not associating with Informant, even though it is charging a lower convenience fee and giving a higher commission to standalone/single-screen theatres as compared to BookMyShow.

The Informant subsequently submitted to the CCI that the main case is of abuse of dominant position by BookMyShow and the cinema theatre owners were made parties only to confirm that they get commission from BookMyShow to sell their tickets on BookMyShow platform.

The CCI defined the relevant market as ‘market for online intermediation services for booking of movie ticket in India’ and noted that BookMyShow holds a dominant position with over 70% market share.

The CCI concluded that the conduct of BookMyShow is prima facie anti-competitive as it is:

i.     executing exclusive agreements with single-screen theatres and multiplexes which appear to have the potential of denying market access to competing platforms and potential entrants;

ii.    restricting cinemas and cine-goers in their choice of alternate booking platforms during the working of the contracts that BookMyShow has with large number of theatres/ multiplex chains; and

iii.   extending the exclusivity in the agreements to data ownership and sharing.

The CCI noted that the conduct by BookMyShow can increase its bargaining power and limit inter-platform competition in the long run. Further, the exclusive ownership of and access to data by a dominant intermediary merits investigation.

However, the CCI refused to look into the allegation of charging high convenience fee from consumers and sharing a part thereof with cinema theatre owners, as it is of the view that the CCI cannot act as a price regulator to determine the correct fee. The CCI also issued the direction for removing the other parties identified as opposite parties by the Informant.


[1] Case No. 46 of 2021.




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