Tinder has revealed that it will start testing video chats in its mobile dating app. The pilot will begin with some members in different worldwide markets, including the States. The video chat feature will allow Tinder members to start “virtual dating.”
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Tinder Tests Virtual Dating
U.S. members who match up from Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, and Virginia will be among the first to test the video chats and go virtual dating. Other countries involved in the trial include Chile, Peru, Thailand, Taiwan, Korea, Indonesia, Vietnam, France, Italy, Spain, Australia, and Brazil.
Match group, the parent company of Tinder, have almost 10 million subscribers across all their services, of which over 4.5 million are from the U.S. With its headquarters in Dallas, Texas, other digital dating services include Plenty of Fish, Our Time, Hinge, OkCupid, Meetic, and Match.com.
Match first said that they would be offering the video chat feature in Tinder as part of its Q1, 2020 earnings report, released on May 5, 2020 (see below). Tinder announced that the potential additional service was borne out of the changing dating world affected by the global coronavirus pandemic, which has affected app subscription growth.
In Q1, 2020, Tinder ended with six million members, up from 5.9 million in Q4, 2019. Although there is an increase of 100,000 subscribers, user growth slows because of social distancing rules and government lockdowns. Compared with the same quarter last year, the company added 384,000 paid members. Much of their 2% ARPU (average revenue per user) growth was due to the purchase of additional services, or a la carte features, by existing members.
Before the pandemic started, Tinder was already testing their video service but said there was not a significant acceptance. COVID-19 changed all that, and the dating app’s “passport” feature now allows members to search for matches worldwide. Users can use the social media style video to interact with others instead of going on physic dates. This works well for early interactions or introductions, and for those wanting to feel safe.
Before the service was introduced, users were using third-party video apps such as Zoom or Snapchat, to make their early connections. Tinder was almost forced to add the function after Facebook Dating recently announced they would add a video service to their app, and rivals Bumble also figured out a new way to bring in-app video.
How It Works
After two people match on Tinder and begin chatting, they can opt-in for video calling by selecting the new video icon. Cleverly, unless both parties do so, the feature is not enabled. Users won’t be informed of the other party toggling on the video icon as the idea is for the discussion to occur naturally, like how it would work in a text-based chat.
If both members select the video chat option, known as “Face to Face,” they must agree to a set of ground rules first – before being able to continue, specifically that there will be no sexual content or nudity. Tinder’s PG stance means members have to stay “clean” with no violence, illegal activities, harassment, or hate speech.
It is unsure at this stage how Tinder intends to moderate the platform to ensure safety for all; however, Elie Seidman, Tinder’s CEO, said they would use machine learning models to supervise chats. At the moment, members are asked to review their video call at the end of the conversation and whether they would use Face to Face again. They can also report the other member, albeit a retrospective action.
Match Earnings Report
Match became a public company via an initial public offering on November 19, 2015.
Highlights – Q1 2020
- Total Revenue rose 17% over the previous year’s quarter to $545 million.
- Operating income was $135 million, an increase of 13% over the previous year’s quarter, and Adjusted EBITDA growth of 11% over the past year’s quarter to $172 million.
- Net earnings attributable to shareholders grew 30% over the previous year’s quarter to $160 million.
- Average Subscribers up 15% to 9.9 million, growing from 8.6 million in the previous year’s quarter, and ARPU rose 1 cent to $0.59.
- Tinder Direct Revenue growth – 31% YOY, led by an increase of 28% Average Subscriber and 2% ARPU growth.
What are your thoughts on Tinder’s potentially new video chat? Would you go on a virtual date? Let us know in the comments section below.