BUSINESSWIRE - July 31 - The Meet Group reported Q2 revenue of $52M, up 22% YOY. Adjusted EBITDA for Q2 was $9.8M, up 29% YOY. "Strong execution in video continued to drive our business growth," said Geoff Cook, CEO of The Meet Group. "We grew daily active video users ("vDAU") on our platform to 892K, or ~21% of users on our apps where Live is available. Average video revenue per daily active video user was $0.26 in the quarter, up from $0.15 YOY." The company is expecting $210M - $215M full year 2019 revenue, and EBITDA to be in the range of $39M - $42M.
BUSINESSWIRE - July 24 - The Meet Group (15m MAU) will trial Yoti's age verification and estimation tech. The Meet Group devotes ~1/2 of its workforce to safety and moderation. Yoti will let users verify their age with Yoti's age estimation technology Yoti Age Scan, or the free Yoti app where a date of birth is verified to a government issued photo ID to ensure minors do not create accounts. Geoff Cook CEO at The Meet Group commented, "We have already committed ourselves to one-tap report abuse capability, clear and frequent safety education, and proactive and transparent moderation, and now with Yoti's age verification and estimation technologies, we look forward to being one of the few app operators in social or dating who can respond to reports of underage users quickly and accurately."
BUSINESSWIRE - July 23 - The Online Dating Association, an international nonprofit organization dedicated to safety and standardizing best practices in the online dating industry, has appointed Fred Beckley, General Counsel and Executive Vice President Business Affairs of The Meet Group, to its board of directors. Beckley's appointment will increase the size of the Online Dating Association Board of Directors to six members.
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."
OPW - July 2 - Senior executives from some of the largest dating companies in the industry participated in a panel discussion via webinar to examine the current state of online safety in the dating space and to outline their extensive operations for protecting their users as much as possible from inappropriate content, financial scams, or potential acts of violence.
The webinar, "Online Safety in the Dating and Social Entertainment Market", was hosted by Northland Capital Markets. Participating from the dating industry were Geoff Cook, CEO of The Meet Group, Casey Burton, Director and Senior Counsel at Match Group, and Jeronimo Folgueira, CEO of Spark Networks.
Representing the panel from various safety and online standards organizations were Larry Magid, CEO of Connect Safely, Stephen Balkam, CEO and Founder of the Family Online and Safety Institute, and George Kidd, CEO of the Online Dating Association.
"We put safety at the core of everything we do," said Geoff Cook, CEO of The Meet Group. "Our users are here to interact and connect – and we think the goal of a safety operation is to promote a safe environment free of bullying, hate speech, and abuse to encourage making meaningful connections."
Topics covered during the discussion included: the current state of online safety, content moderation and law enforcement, working with the app store partners, how technology can help users feel safer, and strategies for building a safer online community.
While safety will always be a major focus in the dating industry, Larry Magid, CEO of Connect Safely, wanted to set the record straight in two specific areas.
"One observation is that between the early 1990s and the mid-2010s, while Internet usage was on a steep rise, violence, both against children and sexual violence in general, has gone down," said Magid. "So anybody who wants to correlate online dating with increased sexual violence is actually looking at the numbers in exactly the wrong way. So while I can't claim data that shows that online dating has made things safer, I can say that during the period that online dating has risen, violence has gone down."
"The other thing to understand is that nobody can guarantee 100% safety on anything, whether it's food safety or transportation safety, or safety using tools," he added. "Nobody can ever say with absolute certainty that nothing bad is going to happen. What we can do is have best practices in an industry (like online dating) – and we can have consumer education."
BUSINESSWIRE - July 2 - The Meet Group's CEO, Geoff Cook, will participate in a panel discussion on Online Safety in the Dating and Social Entertainment Market hosted by Mike Latimore, Managing Director, Senior Research Analyst at Northland Capital Markets. Mr. Cook will join industry executives and experts in the online dating and entertainment space to discuss the company's safety and moderation practices. The panel discussion will be held on Tuesday, July 2, at 1:30pm ET – 2:30pm ET. The discussion will be webcast and is available by accessing: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/4514562158102040845.
BUSINESS WIRE - July 1 - The Meet Group, a leading provider of interactive livestreaming solutions, has joined the Online Dating Association (ODA), an international nonprofit organization dedicated to safety and standardizing best practices in the online connection space. "The ODA is a pioneer in standardizing best practices in online dating and we are proud to be joining forces with their team," said Geoff Cook, CEO of The Meet Group. The Meet Group is also an active member of the Family Online Safety Institute.
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.
BUSINESS WIRE - June 14 - The Meet Group, a leading provider of interactive livestreaming solutions, today announced that its Board of Directors has approved a share repurchase program that enables the company to purchase up to $30M of its shares of common stock from time to time in the open market or through negotiated transactions through 2021. The Company expects to fund purchases with cash from operations.
BUSINESS WIRE - June 14 - The Meet Group makes user safety a top priority, devoting ~45% of its entire workforce to regulating the content of its apps. The Company employs a variety of human and technological filters to monitor all visual content. It has also developed a proprietary textual-monitoring threat detection system that programmatically detects possible safety issues and alerts its safety team of potential abuses. The company screens new daily registrants against databases of known sex offenders in the US and regularly screens all active users against these same lists, blocking registrations and activity from known sex offenders.
ZACKS EQUITY RESEARCH - June 7 - The Meet Group not only has a favorable Growth Score, but also carries a top Zacks Rank. Studies have shown that stocks with the best growth features consistently outperform the market. And returns are even better for stocks that possess the combination of a Growth Score of A or B and a Zacks Rank #1.
SOCIAL NATIVE - June 5 - Geoff Cook, CEO & Co-Founder at The Meet Group, talks the future of video, the development of one-to-one live streaming and the rise of audio. The company has grown a live streaming business from zero to an 80M+ run rate due to the addition of Live. The primary way they've grown their audience from a million daily active users in 2016 to 4.5M today is through acquiring new companies and providing live stream capabilities to amass more users and increase revenue. The Meet Group spend ~13% of its revenue on marketing (20M). You can listen to the Q&A podcast here.
PODCAST BUSINESS JOURNAL - June 6 - The Meet Group, a portfolio of apps with 15M monthly users and owner of Podcoin, a mobile app that rewards users for listening to podcasts, is partnering with health and fitness app Sweatcoin, an app that rewards users with virtual currency for walking and running, in a crowdfunding campaign benefiting Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation. Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation is a national childhood cancer foundation dedicated to helping children with the disease through funding impactful research, raising awareness, supporting families, and empowering everyone to help cure childhood cancer. Podcoin will donate $10K to ALSF at the conclusion of the campaign. As part of the campaign, Sweatcoin users who join Podcoin will receive 300 Podcoin to help them get started on the app.
BUSINESS WIRE - May 8 - Q1 revenue is $49.5M, up 32% YOY. Net income is $7M, up from $4.1M in Q1 2018. "Our strong progress in video continued in the first quarter," said CEO Geoff Cook. "We grew video revenue to ~$20M, a more than four-fold increase from the year ago quarter." Average video revenue per daily active video user increased to 26c, up from 18c in the Q4 of 2018, while ~20% of users engaged in video every day.
ENTREPRENEUR - May 2 - Podcoin is billed as the first app to reward podcast listeners for their time. The platform, which launched in January 2019, pays each user one "podcoin" for every 10 minutes spent listening. Users can cash out via gift cards to outlets like Amazon and Starbucks or use their earnings to make charitable donations. Over the past four months, Podcoin's usage has grown 15% week-over-week, according to CEO Geoff Cook, and reached 1M listening minutes per day.
TWST.COM - Apr 19 - Geoffrey Cook has been CEO of The Meet Group since March 11, 2013. He co-founded myYearbook, where he served as CEO from 2005 until the merger in 2011. During his tenure at myYearbook, Mr. Cook grew myYearbook to profitability and ~$30M revenue with 100 employees. He previously founded EssayEdge and ResumeEdge while a student at Harvard University in 1997 and sold them to The Thomson Corporation in 2002. In an interview with the Wall Street Transcript, Cook reveals all of the strategy of this young compay. "To grow video DAU, we're working on things like one-on-one chat. We're going to be putting nearby videos in front of them, and if they do find somebody to chat with, we're going to make it very easy to start a video chat with them."
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.