Mumbai: Paytm Insider is a platform that lets you discover and buy the best in events, travel, and food in your city. The company strives to curate experiences that are worth users' time and money, possibly something that they have never tried before.
The company said that it is an experience finder and enabler of fun, with tickets to everything from the latest in live sports events to music festivals and concerts, standup comedy and open mic shows, food and shopping festivals, theatre, workshops, and then some.
It says that it is a big believer in the transformational power of shared experiences and the ability of creative arts and technology to drive change in ourselves and our communities. Outside of figuring out when your friend is free, the aim is to make sure that it gets users the experiences they love, or will fall in love with, and gets you there fast.
Indiantelevision.com caught up with Paytm Insider business head Varun Khare to find out more on the company and the expansion plans moving forward. He describes himself as a highly professional and self-motivated business head with proven ability in the planning and delivery of digital and physical intellectual property that creates powerful stories for brands and creators across multiple platforms.
He has extensive expertise in working with artists/creators, promoters, producers, and brands across account management, new business development, media strategy and buying, agency management, and budget control within fast moving corporate environments.
Khare has excellent interpersonal skills and the proven ability to deliver results across multiple channels. A strong track record in sales and customer relationship building in high-pressure environments through the creation of innovative marketing strategies whilst maintaining a high level of customer satisfaction and return on investment targets.
On the aim behind starting Paytm Insider and the market gap that was seen
Paytm Insider was founded back in 2014 as a tailor-made solution for event organisers to easily manage and plan their events, from discovery to purchase, on-ground management to communication, including accessing sales trends and customer data with ease. The idea was to provide a better experience for both organisers to plan events and consumers to discover and buy tickets to exciting events in their city.
We started off with tickets to the Bacardi NH7 Weekender and Russell Peter's early India tours, and over the years we’ve emerged as a leading entertainment ticketing platform. We have gone on to host some of the biggest concerts, artist tours, sporting events, and lifestyle festivals across the country.
On how the platform met the challenge of covid by taking events online
A little before the pandemic, we had a small team that was working on an experimental project to host live online quiz formats and shows. With the onset of the covid pandemic, we fast-tracked this journey and pivoted to ‘digital events’ hosting comedy shows, workshops, and concerts. This presented us with a continuous learning curve and the ability to innovate and adapt with feedback, and we soon combined live streaming technology with powerful interactive elements that allow participants online to engage with each other, including the host.
We’ve worked on creating unique and interesting digital formats with comedians, creators, artists, and event organisers across comedy shows, sports screenings, workshops, quiz formats, music festivals, and masterclasses covering a range of genres.
On its USP compared to competition
It is our teams’ ability to stay agile and proactive across technology, marketing, products, and project management. We’ve built out a DIY solution for event organisers equipped with automated onboarding, event management, and billing solutions, making it easy for them to access data and sales trends and plan their events. Our focus is always to work with organisers and collaborate to create IPs rather than try to manage it all in-house. By sharing data and access, organisers are also able to build their own communities, and we play a proactive role in helping them build these out.
On goals for the year
Our goal is to be the most attractive platform for consumers to discover and consume the best live entertainment across the top cities in the country after the pandemic. This is, of course, an ambitious target to undertake post covid when the industry is starting up again and still recovering.
On the genres that Paytm Insider focuses on for events
On the platform, you’ll find a handpicked selection of events across comedy, music, sports, lifestyle, and food festivals; theater; workshops; travel; and more. We’ve always focused our efforts on ensuring we have a good mix of events across these genres. Now that the event season is here and the weather is conducive to hosting more events outdoors, audiences will see a lot of lifestyle festivals, artist tours, concerts, and travel experiences.
On events that Paytm Insider itself curates
We believe in collaborating with event organisers, venues, artists, and brands to curate, promote, ticket, and produce IPs, festivals, and experiences. The best way to do that is to define a combined set of parameters that define the success of an event and then work together to achieve it. Thus, bringing in more value for all stakeholders and making it a more sustainable model.
We’ve partnered with brands, venues, artists, and event organisers to host a series of lifestyle festivals over the next couple of months: Zomaland, Gin Explorers Club, Lil Flea, Toast Wine and Beer, Horn OK Please, and many more. Across the music category, you’ll find an India tour by Arijit Singh, festivals like DGTL and SMF, and an India debut performance by Solomun. Across comedy as well, we have an upcoming multi-city tour by Karunesh Talwar, and we’ve also worked on partnering with venues across the country - Social and antiSocial, Fandom, Prism, Ext bringing you a curated set of gigs weekly. Across theatre as well, we’ve collaborated with Bhasha Center to present a series of engaging plays by ‘Aagaz Theatre Trust’ and ‘Third Space Collective.’
On the traction that digital events get vis-a-vis on-ground events
We’ve seen some great traction and consumption patterns across digital event formats since the pandemic hit. Brands, artists, and event organisers have shown interest in using the platform and product to build out their own digital communities and fan clubs. We’ve partnered across over 26K digital events and sold over 500K tickets to digital experiences.
On the pricing strategy in a price sensitive market like India
We believe in the value and the offering that event organisers are giving consumers, so we don’t look at discounting prices but rather sustaining this. We’ve also seen an increase in the average ticket price post covid compared to pre-covid levels. To sustain this, we believe it’s important to incentivize early purchasers and also look at avenues to bring in more value, for example, introducing tickets with merchandise, F&B options, and meet and greets, giving consumers the opportunity to commit to an increased value upfront and bringing in a level of security and stability for the organiser.
On PayTM Insider's revenue model
Event organisers, artists, and brands can engage with us in various ways, depending on the services required for a particular event or project. We work across various capacities - ticketing model, co-promoter deal, marketplace for brands to reach out to consumers, brand partnered IPs, and platform-centric brand associations.
On the whitespace areas going forward
Tier II and III markets are where we see decent ticket pricing, people opening up to live entertainment, and an increased interest in F&B and lifestyle experiences.
On how Paytm Insider leverages technological innovations
We always emphasise looking for technology solutions to help put on the best experiences for attendees. We have adopted tech solutions that enable turnstile tables at entry, RFID (radio frequency identification) cards for seamless purchases at events, accreditation solutions for managing access and manpower at events, and digital entry setups that reduce scanning of tickets and make entry smooth at events.
We also have a completely automated onboarding platform for event organisers to list and manage all aspects of their events, including an automated billing system.
On the number of events done each month and revenue run rate
We have about 700–800 events monthly across categories.