Match Group Beats Estimates as Tinder’s Popularity Grows Abroad

(Bloomberg) -- Match Group Inc. beat analysts’ estimates for revenue and profit, driven by explosive international growth in its online dating app Tinder.

Net income jumped 23 percent from a year earlier to $123 million in the three months ending March 31. Earnings per share were 42 cents, well above the average analyst estimate of 28 cents, the company said Tuesday in a statement. Revenue increased 14 percent to $464.6 million, higher than projections for $463.8 million.

Match, which is owned by billionaire Barry Diller’s IAC/InterActiveCorp, runs dozens of dating sites like Tinder, OKCupid, Plenty of Fish and Hinge. But the bulk of the company’s earnings gains were fueled by Tinder, which lured in more than 384,000 new subscribers in the quarter, boosting direct revenue 38 percent from the year earlier period.

The online dating app, where users swipe right to indicate interest in a potential date, now boasts 4.7 million global subscribers. Overall, Match’s average subscribers increased 16 percent with most of the new users flowing in from outside North America.

“The world is changing," said Mandy Ginsberg, chief executive officer of Match. “I’ve been here a long time and 100 percent of the revenue used to be in the U.S. and now the growth and more revenue is outside of the U.S."

With arranged marriages on the decline in India and the stigma towards online dating eroding in Japan, Ginsberg is concentrating on international expansion. There are more than 400 million single people living outside North America and Europe, two-thirds of whom have not yet tried a dating product, according to Match. Ginsberg recently revamped the company’s leadership team in Asia -- appointing general managers in Tokyo, Seoul and Delhi -- to try and grow Match’s footprint across the continent.

Strategies include tinkering with Tinder to make it more culturally appropriate, raising awareness of online dating in general, introducing other Match products to local markets and investigating potential future acquisition options. By 2023, Ginsberg estimates a quarter of Match’s revenue will come from the Asia-Pacific region. “We are more confident than ever that we really can achieve what we set out to achieve this year," she said.

Tinder is also experimenting with new video features. About a year ago it launched Loops, which allows users to post videos to their dating profiles and Ginsberg said the feature has seen strong engagement. Last month, Snap Inc. announced a partnership with Tinder so users will soon be able to post videos from their Snap Stories onto their dating profiles.

Match’s other dating sites have also seen rapid growth in the past quarter, with Hinge pulling in 1.2 million downloads. Hinge is marketed as the dating app that is “designed to be deleted," when a user finds a partner, while Tinder targets a younger crowd and is widely known as a “hookup" app.

Match is predicting revenue of $480 million to $490 million in the second quarter, in line with analysts’ average forecast of $486 million.

Match shares jumped 4.3 percent in extended trading, after closing at $60.37 in New York on Tuesday. They are up more than 40 percent this year.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.