Video dating was not very popular before the coronavirus pandemic, but Match Group (NASDAQ:MTCH) says it's become vital since. New data shows that where only 6% of daters were using video to date before COVID-19, now, in the age of social distancing, 69% are using it. And video chat isn't expected to decline much after the all-clear signal is given.
As a result, the online dating platform is adding new features to support video dating capabilities on Plenty of Fish, and parent IAC/InterActiveCorp (NASDAQ:IAC) says its other dating services services, such as OKCupid and Hinge, will see video playing a larger role in their future, too.
Getting close while keeping a safe distance
IAC CEO Joey Levin told The Wall Street Journal that although a number of its services have struggled during the pandemic because they're typically heavily reliant upon in-person communication, such as ANGI Homeservices and Care.com, its dating platform has been able to shift to video dating.
Last month, Match set up a dating hotline that singles could call to get advice on dating during a time of self-isolation and quarantine, as well as help with video dating.
Today, it is launching a new in-app feature called Vibe Check that lets singles switch over to video chats, which looks similar to FaceTime. It's also introducing virtual happy hours, which are retoolings of events it previously held, that are led by a dating moderator to help participants find matches in the group.
Video dating could be key to helping Match grow as 45% of singles believe they can tell if they can hit it off with someone new in less than 10 minutes of video chatting.