By Conor White
At first glance, Match Group's acquisition of dating app Hinge, known as the "anti-Tinder," doesn't seem to make much sense, considering its properties already include OkCupid, Match, and of course, Tinder. But for parent company IAC, the more competition ー even internally ー the better.
"We have always disrupted ourselves, and we like to disrupt ourselves," explained Joey Levin, CEO of IAC, which owns Match. "So when we see something that says it's the anti-something-we're-doing, if it's a good business, it's a good management team, it's a good story, it's a good product, that's something we're interested in doing. We like competing with ourselves."
IAC and Match are also competing with Facebook. In May, Mark Zuckerberg announced the platform would introduce a dating feature, looking to take users away from apps like Tinder and OkCupid in the process.
In an interview taped at the Allen & Co. Conference in Sun Valley, Idaho, Levin explained it's another challenge, but not an impossible one.
"Brand and product are the two antidotes to competing with the giants. You have a product customers love, you can win ー you have a brand your customers believe in and trust, you can win."
As for whether he prefers subscription-based or ad-supported businesses, Levin pointed to an example that's been around for quite a while.
"I think both can be great businesses, both can be great revenue sources in the same business. Look at television ー it's a combination of subscription and ad revenue."
Asked about the possibility of IAC acquiring Groupon, as has been rumored, Levin declined to comment, but he said he's happy to see all the wrangling for assets in the media space, whether it be for British broadcaster Sky or 21st Century Fox.
"From my perspective, it's fun to watch," he said. "I like that they're trying to compete with Amazon, Netflix, Facebook Google. If these combinations give them a better shot...then I hope they succeed."
"I'd like to see more competition among those companies and, however they can make it work, I'm cheering for them."
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