Match Group to add audio and video chat, including live group video, to its dating app portfolio – TechCrunch

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Dating app maker and parent of Tinder Match Group said in its second quarter earnings it will bring audio and video chat, including group live video, and other live streaming technologies to several of the company’s brands over the next 12 to 24 months. Developments will be fueled by innovations from Hyperconnect, the social media company that this year became Match’s biggest acquisition to date when it bought the Korean app maker for $ 1.73 billion.

Since then, Match Group has been relatively silent on its specific plans for the Hyperconnect technology or its long-term strategy with the operation, although Tinder was briefly spotted testing a group video chat feature called Tinder. Mix earlier this summer. The move appeared to signal an exploration of social discovery features following the Hyperconnect deal. However, Tinder told us at the time that the company had no plans to release this specific product in the coming year.

During Tuesday’s results, Match Group offered a little more information on the future of Hyperconnect, following the official announcement of the acquisition. To close in mid-June.

According to Match Group CEO Shar Dubey, who entered the highest position Last January, the company was excited about the potential for integrating technologies developed by Hyperconnect into existing Match-owned dating apps.

This includes, she said, “AR features, self-expression tools, conversational AI and a number of what we would consider elements of the metaverse, which have the element to transform the online meeting and mutual knowledge process, ”Dubey explained, without providing more specific details on how the products work or on the applications that would benefit from these improvements.

Many of these technologies have emerged from the Hyperconnect lab, Hyper X – the same internal incubator whose first product is now one of the flagship applications of the company, Azar, which joined Match Group with the acquisition.

Dubey also noted that work to begin these technology integrations was already underway at the company.

By the end of the year, Match Group said it expects at least two of its brands to be integrated with Hyperconnect technologies. A number of other brands will implement Hyperconnect capabilities by the end of 2022.

In doing so, Match aims to transform how people think about online dating.

To date, online dating has been a fairly static experience across the industry, where apps mostly focus on profiles and photos and then offer some sort of matching technique – be it swipes. , quizzes or whatever. Tinder, in recent years, has started to break out of this mold by innovating with an array of different experiences, such as its in-app video series Choose Your Own Adventure, “Swipe Night,” video profiles, instant chat features (via Tinder product, Hot takes) and others. But it was still missing some of the real-time elements that people have when they meet in the real world.

This is one area where Match believes Hyperconnect can help improve the online dating experience.

“One of the holy grails for us in online dating has always been to bridge the gap that occurs between people who chat online and then meet someone in person,” Dubey said. “These technologies will eventually allow us to create experiments that will help people determine whether or not they have such elusive chemistry or not… Our ultimate vision here is that people never have to have a bad first date again,” she added.

Of course, Match Group’s positioning on the Hyperconnect agreement as being more interesting because the innovation it brings – and not just the stand-alone applications it operates – also comes at a time when these applications have not responded. the company’s revenue expectations.

In the second half of 2021, Match Group said it expects Hyperconnect to contribute $ 125 million to $ 135 million in revenue – a financial outlook the company says reflects some setback. He attributed this in large part to the impacts of COVID, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region where Hyperconnect applications operate. Other impacts on Hyperconnect’s growth included a more crowded market and the changes to IDFA (Identifier for Advertisers), which has impacted a number of apps, including other social media apps, like Facebook.

While Match still believes Hyperconnect will show “solid revenue growth” in 2021, he said these new technology integrations in Match Group’s portfolio are now “a higher priority” for the company.

Mixed published match group earnings in the first quarter, with revenue of $ 707.8 million, higher than analysts’ estimates, but earnings per share of 46 cents, lower than projections of 49 cents per share. Paying customers increased 15% to 15 million, from 13 million in the quarter a year earlier. Shares fell 7% on Wednesday morning after the results were announced.


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