Tinder and Its Owner Match Group Had a Very, Very Horny 2018

By Tom McKay on at

Unstoppable online dating giant Match Group, a subsidiary of holding company InterActiveCorp, has acquired so many dating sites that some critics have wondered why it isn’t facing antitrust concerns. But the prize jewel in its empire is the Tinder app, which last year added 1.2 million subscribers and pulled in nearly as much money as its other subsidiaries including Match.com and OkCupid combined, according to Q4 2018 earnings reports released Wednesday.

According to the Verge, the subscription surge saw Tinder close out the year with an astonishing $805 million (£624m) in revenue – closing in on Match.com, OkCupid, and its other brands’ combined haul of $872 million (£677m). That is way, way up from Tinder’s 2017 revenue of around £310 million.

In total, Match Group made nearly $1.73 billion (£1.3bn) in revenue in 2018, up from $1.33 billion (£1bn) in 2017, and net earnings (loss) attributable to its shareholders of nearly $478 million (£370m) in 2018, up from just over $350 million (£271m) in 2017.

The Verge wrote that Match Group reported Tinder’s gold rush was driven by overseas expansion, subscription-based Tinder Gold accounts, and something called “Tinder U” (for college students) that sounds fairly nauseating to me now that I’m nearly 30:

Match says most of Tinder’s revenue growth is thanks to Tinder Gold, which gives members certain limited features like more Super Likes per day, the ability to swipe around the world, and insight into who’s already liked them. Tinder has also made it a goal to focus on a younger demographic of 18 to 22-year-olds through Tinder U, the university-oriented portion of the app. The company is expanding outside the US with a focus on Japan, India, and South Korea, as well.

Either people are hornier than ever, which seems doubtful given the entirety of human history, or they are just as horned up as ever with nowhere to go but a Match Group property.

This year, Match Group partnered with a media brand called Betches to launch another app called Ship, which is female-oriented and allows for users to create friend groups that can help suggest potential matches for them. In 2018, Match Group and similarly women-centric dating app Bumble (one of its only remaining competitors of note, aside from niche venues like FarmersOnly) became embroiled in a nasty legal battle following a failed acquisition deal and dueling accusations of patent infringement and trade secret theft. While it was still neck-deep in that mess, Match Group instead bought Hinge, which markets itself as a premium service for relationships rather than just hookups.

Apparently, Match Group does not yet think its iron fist in a velvet glove has a firm enough grip on the nation’s... uhh... hearts. In its Q4 report, it noted that internal data indicates people use an average of four dating apps, and it would like to ensure “all four of those are its own offerings,” the Verge wrote.

While the Q4 report beat analyst expectations, the future may be more rocky. CNBC reported that Deutsche Bank analyst Kunal Madhukar projected this week that Tinder’s subscriber growth will slow down over the next 12 months despite its popularity in the U.S. and Western Europe, as “it could take time and a lot of effort to convert the potential addressable universe into subscribers.”

“There still is a lot of stigma associated with online dating in many countries outside of North America and Western Europe and the stigma associated with casual relationships could be even higher,” Madhukar wrote, adding that Tinder also remains “skewed disproportionately towards males in a number of countries.” [The Verge]

Featured image: Tsering Topgyal (AP)