Tinder CEO Jim Lanzone on Reaching Gen Z Users With ‘Swipe Night’

Why is Tinder wading into the crowded field of original content? Because its Gen Z user base wants more “immersive” experiences while surfing and swiping across the the dating app that is one of the internet’s most recognizable digital native brands.

Tinder CEO Jim Lanzone explains why the dating app is embracing streaming video applications and other multimedia tools on the latest episode of Variety podcast “Strictly Business.”

Lanzone discusses the origin of Tinder’s original series “Swipe Night” and how its choose-your-own-adventure format helps facilitate matches for users. The former CEO of CBS Interactive, who launched CBS All Access in 2014, also weighs in on the state of play in the streaming wars.

“Part of what attracted me to [Tinder] is that you can do so much with a brand like that online. We’re just getting started in many ways,” Lanzone says. “There’s a lot more to come, especially with what we are internally calling ‘Tinder 3D’ — a much more multimedia, multidimensional version of Tinder.”

When he arrived at Tinder last summer, Lanzone realized that content and video-based connection tools would be key to growing Tinder’s user base, about half of which qualifies as Gen Z. Tinder, which turns 10 next year, also has a growing profile on TV, including a partnership with the Australian edition of the reality series “Love Island.”

At present the company operates on a “freemium model” with about 7 million paying subscribers who have access to expanded services on the platform, while many more use the free parts of the app. (Lanzone won’t disclose any monthly user stats.) Tinder is a cornerstone of Dallas-based Match Group, a publicly traded entity with a $37 billion market cap that owns Match.com and a host of other dating apps.

Lanzone notes that the social environment created by the pandemic has only accelerated the use of online dating tools, both because of the lockdown and because of the pent-up demand for IRL interactions now that vaccines have helped tame the COVID beast. Match Group’s research has found that their brands have achieved an even greater “foothold with consumers to take them down the pathway of social discovery,” he said.

“Strictly Business” is Variety’s weekly podcast featuring conversations with industry leaders about the business of media and entertainment. New episodes debut every Wednesday and can be downloaded on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, Stitcher and SoundCloud.

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