(Bloomberg) -- Tinder has rolled out an ultra-premium subscription tier to its dating app users, charging $499 per month to access features like exclusive search and matching.
The new plan announced Friday, called Tinder Select, was only offered to less than 1% of Tinder users who are among the app’s most active, the company said.
For nearly $6,000 a year, users will be able to access new features, such as “VIP” search, matching and conversation, that aren’t currently provided with its existing paid plans, it said, without providing further details.
Tinder said it will open up applications for Tinder Select on a rolling basis. It offers three other subscription tiers that start as low as $24.99 a month, according to its website.
“We know that there is a subset of highly engaged and active users who prioritize more effective and efficient ways to find connections,” said Tinder Chief Product Officer Mark Van Ryswyk, “and so we engaged in extensive tests and feedback with this audience over the past several months to develop a completely new offering.”
Tinder parent company Match Group Inc. has experience with high-priced subscriptions for some users. In 2022, it bought The League, an invite-only dating app that targets “ambitious, career-oriented singles.” The League has a VIP plan that costs $1,000 per week. The company previously said the success of The League’s high-price subscription made Match Group rethink how it could address “high-intent users” on its other apps like Tinder.
Match Group President Gary Swidler said at a Citi conference earlier this month he expects Tinder Select to only attract “a relatively tiny amount of new payers,” but he said it will have a significant impact on revenue. Tinder’s current “power users” — the top 10% of users by time spent on the app — contributed an average 53% of total time spent this year, according to research firm Apptopia.
Match Group Chief Executive Officer Bernard Kim has called expensive subscriptions “low-hanging fruit” to match pricier plans offered by rivals. The company earlier this year also started offering weekly subscriptions, which helped it navigate slowed and negative revenue growth. In the same period it also rolled out a premium $60 plan globally for Hinge, its dating app popular among Gen-Z. Match Group also owns OKCupid and Match.com.
The company saw declining subscriber numbers in each of the last three quarters, but it has managed to grow average revenue per user on a year-over-year basis, most recently posting the biggest jump in eight quarters, data compiled by Bloomberg show. During second-quarter results in August, the company beat revenue estimates and raised its third-quarter outlook, citing Tinder’s growth and revenue acceleration that exceeded internal expectations. Shares are flat this year so far, compared to a 13% rise in the S&P 500 Index over the same period.
JPMorgan Chase & Co. analysts last week raised their price target for the company’s stock and updated it to top pick, citing growth opportunity in online dating spending. “We expect Tinder payer trends to improve as focus shifts from price optimizations to product & engagement. We believe the best (& perhaps only) way to turn the tide in online dating sentiment is for Tinder payers to stabilize & ultimately return to growth,” analysts led by Cory Carpenter wrote in a note.
The company is planning more changes this year, particularly to lure Gen-Z users, including a product refresh planned for Tinder, Kim told investors at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia + Technology Conference in San Francisco earlier this month.
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