Tinder subscriber growth disappoints Match investors

Match Group reported second quarter earnings after the bell on Tuesday. At first shares rose about in initial after-hours trading, but then they were down 5% as investors were disappointed by subscriber growth and guidance for the year.

The owner of dating sites including Tinder, OkCupid and Match.com reported $301 million in revenue, above analyst expectations of $297 million. Adjusted EBITDA was $100 million, also above estimates of $90 million.

Yet investors were particularly watching PMC, the paid customer category which grew by 30% to 5.3 million. This wasn’t enough for Wall Street, which was expecting above $5.4 million.

Match Group also brought down its EBITDA guidance for the year, forecasting between $400 million and $415 million, about $10 million below what was previously predicted. The company also mentioned a lower-than-expected dating revenue outlook for the third quarter.

We see a lot of growth internationally,” CFO Gary Swidler told TechCrunch. “India has been a really good for market for us.” And Match-owned Meetic is one of the larger European dating businesses. 

The company is trying to offset the decline in traditional paid dating sites, by growing its Tinder subscription business. Tinder has a freemium model, where users can opt to pay for additional features.

But “it’s going to be harder in the long run to be able to sell the amount of paid memberships for Tinder that makes up for all of the loss from other brands,” warned Brandon Ross, analyst at BTIG.

There’s a lot of competition for Tinder, particularly from Bumble, which was founded by Whitney Wolfe, a former member of the Tinder team. “Bumble will get scale throughout the rest of the country and the rest of the world eventually,” said Ross. Others in the mobile dating app space include Happn, Hinge, Coffee Meets Bagel and The League.

It’s possible that Match, which recently acquired PlentyofFish, will buy up some of the acquisitions, though Swidler told us it’s unlikely to happen in the short-term.  “We’re the obvious buyer,” he acknowledged. “I’m sure at some point we’ll buy something.”


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At Tuesday’s close of $16.64, shares were up 38.7% since the company separated from IAC last November.