BUSINESSWIRE - July 17 - The Meet Group, a leading provider of interactive livestreaming solutions, is launching one-on-one video chat on its MeetMe app. This new feature lets users get to know each other safely without exchanging phone numbers. By tapping the video chat icon on the MeetMe app, members can initiate video chat requests to those with whom they have previously exchanged messages. Members can only receive video chat requests from people they have already communicated with.
BUSINESSWIRE - July 11 - "Today we unveiled a number of safety-related features on MeetMe," said CEO Geoff Cook, "including the Report Abuse button we have seen in any major livestreaming app. When a user taps this button, a screengrab will be sent to our 200+ person moderation team for rapid review of both the screengrab and the active livestream."
GAYSTAR NEWS - June 21 - Gay entrepreneur Coley Cummiskey launched men's dating app Growlr in 2010 in Columbus, Ohio. In March, it was revealed he'd sold it in a $12M deal to tech company, The Meet Group. The app says it has 10M members and ~200K daily users. Growlr is aimed very much at the 'bears' market – men who are bigger, hairer and heftier, plus their admirers. TMG is a publicly owned business headquartered in New Hope, Pennsylvania. TMG was founded in 2005 as MyYearbook, but has grown and changed its name in the intervening years. It was founded by current CEO, Geoff Cook with his siblings, Catherine and Dave Cook, and specializes in dating apps. Its other brands include MeetMe, LOVOO, Skout and Tagged. They launched live streaming on MeetMe in April 2017, and have now embedded it into LOVOO, Tagged and Skout. "What we saw with Growlr was a very active, and a pretty sizeable community sending many millions of messages every single day. We saw the potential to roll out live streaming video into that community," said Mr Cook. One thing that won't change is the app's focus. The team realize that's its strength. Growlr does have a very distinct sense of community. Its users are very loyal and very engaged.
MEDIUM.COM - Apr 18 - The Western live streaming industry is still in its early stages yet surprisingly, only The Meet Group has adopted the Momo playbook successfully at scale outside of China. The Meet Group has experienced a similar growth trajectory as Momo. 25% of Momo users were using video within six quarters of launch; it took MeetMe five quarters to achieve that same penetration. In about 11 months after starting monetization, 750k users were viewing video, generating a $42M annualized video run-rate; The Meet Group sees $70+ average revenue per paying user. Live streaming can be extremely engaging and interactive, and loyal viewers often form a tight bond with their favorite streamers, thinking of them as close friends. Live is the opposite of loneliness.
GURU FOCUS - Apr 5 - Even though the The Meet Group's stock price has surged 170% higher in the last year, further growth could be ahead. The company is focused on improving user experience through the introduction of innovative new products that may improve its monetization potential. It is also expected to expand into new territories and niches, while further acquisitions could enhance its overall performance. The launch of Battles could drive monetization, as well as attract new users and enhance the user experience. Battles bring together two live streamers in a competition, with users being able to give gifts to support their favorite streamer. The streamer with the most votes is named the winner. Battles were recently launched on the company's Meet Me, Skout and Tagged. The Meet Group is also set to launch a new product called Levels. This adds a gamification element to live streaming through establishing aspirational ranks for users to achieve, as well as exclusive benefits for them to unlock.
by Robert Stephens
See full article at Guru Focus
OPW - Mar 21 - The Meet Group grew its live-streaming product - Live - to a $48M business in less than a year. Live, which monetizes through in-app purchases, is one of the most engaging features the company ever launched. Users spend ~25M minutes in Live each day. In her presentation, Catherine Cook Connelly talks about how they built Live, why it monetizes so well, and how it enables meaningful connections for their users on MeetMe, Skout, Tagged, and LOVOO.
MARKETING TECHNOLOGY INSIGHTS - Feb 15 - Catherine Cook Connelly, the co-Founder and VP Brand Strategy at The Meet Group spoke at the Mobile Growth Summit 2019 this week. Her session is about how they built Live, their live streaming video feature and why it works so well for their portfolio of apps. "It is the most successful product we have ever launched in the company's history, reaching a $71M annualized revenue run rate in just 15 months of being active," she said.
Q: What was behind your decision to build Live?
A: From watching MOMO and other popular Chinese dating apps, we began to see how live streaming can fill a core product gap in dating apps. We've always thought of our apps as the neighborhood bar, and video is the live entertainment meant to keep people engaged and give them something more to talk about. Our apps - LOVOO, MeetMe, Tagged, and Skout - have ~25M minutes of live video every day, and we have not experienced cannibalization of our core text-based chat. Instead, live video fills the product gaps.
Q: Did you have a monetization model in mind prior to its launch?
A: Yes, we used the monetization model popularized in Eastern live streaming apps that rely on viewers to send gifts to the broadcaster. The model has taken off with our users because streamers have an incentive to make interesting streams. We're introducing new products such as Battles, which brings an exciting competitive dynamic to Live. The feature brings together two live streamers for a live competition, whether it be for best dancer, musician or comedian. Each battle lasts just a few minutes, and the winner is the streamer who earns more diamonds from the audience. On a larger scale, we expect to bring Levels to the platform this year. Levels adds a gamification element to Live by establishing aspirational ranks for users and exclusive benefits to unlock.
Q: It seems like being a "live streamer" is now a formal occupation that can be quite lucrative… can you discuss this phenomenon as you are seeing it unfold firsthand?
A: A few of our streamers have said they plan to quit their jobs or have taken a step back from their previous job to build themselves up as streamers. 20% of our streamers consider themselves full-time live streamers.
PRESS RELEASE - Dec 18 - The Meet Group has begun the rollout of its new Battles feature on its MeetMe and Skout apps. Battles brings together two livestreamers and their audiences for a live competition, whether it be for best dancer, musician or comedian, among other categories. Each battle lasts just a few minutes, and the winner is the streamer who earns more diamonds by receiving gifts from viewers during the battle period.
PRESS RELEASE - Nov 15 - The Meet Group's members (MeetMe, Skout and Tagged) have been successful in raising $10K for Alex's Lemonade Stand in September and $10K for Ryan's Well Foundation in August. This month, the Meet Group is partnering with Action Against Hunger. The campaign is set to launch today (Nov 15) to raise an additional $10K to fight global hunger. The company will offer a limited edition virtual gift in its MeetMe, Skout, and Tagged mobile apps. For every gift sent to broadcasters, The Meet Group will donate $0.25. Action Against Hunger has led the global fight against hunger for ~40 years. The organization is committed to doubling the number of children who receive urgent hunger care, from 3M to 6M by 2020.
OPW INTERVIEW - Sep 3 - Meet Group has acquired Skout, Tagged and Lovoo, and has added video, in similar fashion to Momo, in the last year. Fascinating! I asked Geoff how the integrations are coming together, and monetizing.
Meet Group is ahead of schedule for enabling video, and are finding that audiences across their various geographic markets are very similar in terms of their behavior around video. Livestreaming really fits the dating context well, and actually helps solves a particular core problem with Internet dating. Many males and females are left out with Internet dating apps. They come to a dating platform to feel less lonely, and end up feeling more lonely. However, on Meet Group dating services, "livestreaming video enables them to replace feelings of loneliness with feelings of entertainment where they can actually engage with the broadcaster." But its not all about entertainment. 56% of video users report that they meet in real life.
"Video monetizes extraordinarily well." Meet Group went from zero revenue from 'gifts' to video broadcasters to a $37 million run-rate business from video gifts by July 2018. This is mainly from MeetMe and Skout. Meanwhile, Lovoo has been experimenting with bitcoin, but this is very fledgling and not a huge contributor to revenues yet.
BUSINESSWIRE - Aug 21 - The Meet Group has launched Quick, its new one-on-one live video chat feature, to users of its MeetMe mobile app in the US. The Meet Group's video monetization now exceeds $42M a year. With Quick, users can either choose to match with another user for free or choose to be matched with users of a specific gender for a fee. In addition, similar to one-to-many livestreaming, users can give virtual gifts in Quick, which they may do to show interest to the broadcaster, break the ice or start a conversation.
BUSINESSWIRE - May 31 - Lovoo Live enables users to broadcast and view live-streaming video, invite others to join their streams, chat, and earn virtual gifts. The release of live video in France and Switzerland follows the launch of Live in Austria two weeks ago, where an average of 15% of users engaged with video on the first day. "What has been surprising is the rapid adoption of gifting on Lovoo," said Geoff Cook, CEO of The Meet Group. "On MeetMe, it took 6 months from the launch of gifts to reach 2% of viewers giving gifts. On LOVOO, we achieved that milestone in the first week."
BUSINESSWIRE - May 3 - Q1 total revenue was 37.6M, up 88% YOY. Mobile revenue was $30.7M, up 63% YOY. GAAP net loss was $4.2M. "Video revenue grew ~120% from Dec '17 to Mar '18, which we attribute to momentum on our MeetMe app, the launch of livestreaming monetization on Skout, and our focus on strengthening our livestreaming community and the quality of our livestreams. Our annualized video revenue run rate now exceeds $29M based on April's results, up 53% from February's run rate," said Geoff Cook, CEO of The Meet Group. The Average revenue per paying video user grow to $76 in March.
BUSINESSWIRE - Apr 9 - "We see momentum in video building," said Geoff Cook, CEO of The Meet Group. "We have begun the rollout of Tagged livestreaming on our shared video platform, and we expect to launch enhanced video monetization on Tagged next month. Additionally, we are ahead of schedule with our plans to bring live video to Lovoo, and we now expect to begin rolling out the feature in a phased approach starting in May." The number of monetizing users continues to increase on MeetMe and Skout. The number of paid gifters increased 36% in March over February. Gifters buy virtual gifts for livestreamers.
FORBES - Feb 14 - According to Ogury study, Sunday night is Grindr night in the U.K.; in the U.S., women appear to be swiping hard on MeetMe on Saturday, while men step up their MeetMe usage on Sunday. The only day of the week that both seem to be on the same page was Monday, with both hitting POF. Internationally, Thursday is the most popular day with 27 minutes and 32 seconds spent on dating apps across all tracked platforms. Most uninstalls of all dating apps happen on the first day. Grindr had the lowest first day delete rate. Women seemed to keep MeetMe around a bit longer, deleting that on the second day.
OPW - Feb 4 - If you missed iDate, you missed a great business conference. This was the best iDate Internet Dating Conference for a few years. Marc pulled together a great line up of speakers and show. Meetme's co-founder Catherine Cook gave an amazing talk to demystify video in the Internet dating context. Amanda Bradford gave an awesome talk on the future of Internet dating. Super impressed with both of these talks. We had the COO of Spark, a super-affiliate, an OKCupid data scientist, a gay dating expert, an A.I. guru... Anyway, check out my little vlogs of the event.
The next iDate is in Los Angeles in early June. This is the Mobile Dating Conference, so is focused on mobile dating apps. Beyond that, this particular conference will focus of the emergence and applications of Artificial Intelligence in Internet dating. Who's doing it, and what we could do in the future to use A.I. to vastly improve our services and value. Hope to see you there. ;-)
BUSINESSWIRE - Dec 19 - Revenue to be at or above the high end of its prior outlook of $36.5M to $38M; and adjusted EBITDA to be near or above the high end of its prior outlook of $7.5M to $9.5M. The full year revenue is expected to be $121.6M. "We are pleased to deliver strong preliminary results for the fourth quarter," said Geoff Cook, CEO of The Meet Group. "While still a small component of total revenue, monetization of our video product has been accelerating. In the past five weeks, average revenue per daily active user for MeetMe Live users in the US doubled to 20 cents, up from 10 cents just five weeks ago. We believe this has been largely driven by the initial success of our new video gifting product on our MeetMe app."
OPW INTERVIEW - Sep 8 - Geoff Cook is the CEO/co-founder of The Meet Group, which is a public dating-esque company that has morphed over the years. I remember talking with Geoff a few years ago in London and he was very enamored with the development of Momo. Their engagement was high, and they were doing interesting things with video. Fast-forward to 2017 and Momo's market cap has competed with and now exceeds Match Group's. So video seems to be working out very well for them with their tip-your-favorite-live-video-creators model.
The Meet Group (formerly Meetme) acquired Skout in 2016 and if(we) which operates Tagged, in 2017 and has been working to merge the platforms so members can interact between all three apps: Meetme, Skout and Tagged.
I spoke to Geoff Cook yesterday about the integration projects and he said it was going quite well. He had previously mentioned that Skout was on track for doing $7.5m in adjusted EBITDA in their first year and almost one year later, he said they're on track for that. They just launched live streaming video on Skout last week, using the same engine as Meetme. Now their intention is to add gifting in another month and then combine user-bases between Skout and Meetme.
Ultimately, this adds to the membership density, but Skout is more International. Skout is 80% international, whereas Meetme is 40%. What is common is that people on both platforms are looking to connect with new people, and not just for dating. That's a key distinction that really separates these platforms from the likes of Facebook and Match.
So what of Tagged? Geoff described Tagged as an African American app inside the USA. "That's what we found so attractive about it. It has similar features to Skout and gives The Meet Group the opportunity to create a live streaming app for African Americans. Video is now available to all of Tagged and is being well adopted and used."
By early next year, Geoff said they will have Tagged, Skout and Meetme on one video platform and they're working on adding some interesting new video features like the ability to add guest videos into a stream.
Just where does Meetme fit in the market now? Is it a social discovery service? Not so, said Geoff. Ultimately, the social discovery descriptor really faded out. He'd describe Meetme's services as belonging to "one big meeting category," which makes sense really. Facebook, Match and The Meet Group all seem to share a common cause in helping people meet. But the nuances of these services differ in that Facebook helps people stay in contact with people they already know, Match helps people within the context of wanting to meet a mate, and "Meetme and Tagged are the neighborhood bar, stated Geoff. "Video is the live entertainment at the bar."
"Meetme has always had a mission of helping users meet the universal need for human connection." Meetme's live streaming video is different from dating apps. Live streamers can ask and answer questions and receive gifts and the whole experience is more about "social entertainment." It's not really fundamentally about dating. "Meetme is the social graph of the people you want to know," stated Geoff.
Geoff described the distinction with Facebook further. Zuckerberg talks about connecting with communities and helping the world become less fragmented but Facebook doesn't want you to make a bunch of friends with people you don't know. That would just complicate the product and change the context too much.
The Meet Group will continue to be focused on live streaming. In fact, Geoff believes the entire live streaming video category to be fledgling. "Video has the potential to be as disruptive as mobile was to the web," Geoff believes. What do you think? Your comments, please.
(Full Disclosure: Mark Brooks owns shares of The Meet Group)
Previous interviews with Geoff Cook:
BUSINESSWIRE - Aug 3 - Total Q2 revenue was $31.3M, up 91% YOY, mobile revenue was $23.3M, up 55% YOY. The company has increased daily video minutes by 80% to 7.2M, with ~20% of its users watching videos every day. They expect to fully launch livestreaming video on Tagged and Skout by the end of this quarter. The Meet Group will also launch new banner and native advertising units within the video experience and gifting inside of video.