With cinema having surfaced as a popular pastime in Pakistan, the bid to secure the best seats in the best of cinema halls is becoming ragingly difficult. Standing in a long queue for hours only to find out that the show of one’s choice is sold out is a disappointment bar none!
Understanding the plight of movie enthusiasts of the country, Reza Khan, a 33-year-old entrepreneur from Islamabad, has developed and launched a movie listing smartphone application (app). Showtimes is Pakistan’s first smartphone app that lists the movie screening schedules of cinemas from across the country. With the help of a software developer, Khan created the app for Apple iOS-users and other Android smartphones. And it’s free! The app, which was launched on September 21 this year, has crossed over 5,000 downloads. With more than 8,500 screen views a day, the app is an absolute hit with movie fans. Out of 155 reviews, 125 rated the app with five stars.
Khan, who is passionate about movies himself, acknowledges the lack of fluidity in information dissemination at cinema halls. “Information about movie timings on cinema websites, Facebook pages, newspapers and that given on their helpline was always contradictory,” Khan said. To counter this problem and the inconvenience it causes moviegoers, Khan created an app that allows people to reserve seats in a cinema of their choice by simply downloading it on their phones.
Showtimes offers IMBD ratings, movie genres, discount coupons, directions to movie theatres and ticket ordering services. “If you are a movie-lover, you will love this app,” said Noman Qureshi, who has been using the app.
With a 4.6 average rating, the app shows the movie schedules of 19 cinemas of Islamabad, Lahore, Karachi, Faisalabad, Gujranwala and Rawalpindi. Khan stated that movie-fanatics in Islamabad and Rawalpindi have an edge right now over those in other cities; the latest feature of the app allows residents of the twin cities to not only book tickets but also get them delivered to their homes within 45 minutes of the confirmation of their seats. Khan has incorporated the cash on delivery service into his venture, which allows customers to make payments when they receive their tickets. “This has saved the time of many people, who had no choice, but to stand in long queues and hope that they get seats of their choice for a movie,” he said. “This facility will soon be provided for other cities,” he added.
It is fitting to see local entrepreneurs developing world-class softwares that our making people’s lives easier. With rampant growth of the information technology industry, Pakistan today is the ninth-largest mobile phone-using country in the world. With 120 million mobile users in the country, Chairman of the Punjab IT Board Umar Saif told The Express Tribune that Pakistan was amongst the top 20 app-making countries in the world. Kudos to Khan for his invaluable contribution to the Pakistani IT industry!
Know your IT industry
In Pakistan today, 30% to 40% of the software development workforce is working on mobile apps. Overall, the country banks on a software export of $2 billion, out of which $700 million is generated by freelancers.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 30th, 2013.