»Our new TV campaign represents a prime example of synergies.«

Anna Maria Wanninger, Managing Director, LOVOO

Since September 2020, The Meet Group has been part of our Dating segment and opened up additional growth prospects for us. In addition to several brands from the US, it also brought LOVOO, an established European brand, to the Group’s portfolio. In the interview, CEO Anna Maria Wanninger explains how LOVOO benefits from the experiences of the other companies in the portfolio of the ParshipMeet Group in the process and how valuable the synergies with ProSiebenSat.1 are for the further development of the business.
Since September 2020, The Meet Group has been part of our Dating segment and opened up additional growth prospects for us. The company is strong in the area of live streaming in particular and complements the Parship Group synergistically in terms of diversifying sources of revenues, the content offering and geographical coverage. In addition to several brands from the US, it also brought LOVOO, an established European brand, to the Group’s portfolio: The app’s memorable logo – the red, blue and yellow heart – adorns the user interface of many smartphones – especially in young target groups.

The company was founded in Germany in 2011 and operates its business from Berlin and Dresden. Since November 2020, Anna Maria Wanninger as the CEO heads the areas of Live Video & Community Management, Human Resources, Communication and Customer Service, with Darshan Sheth as COO and Claudio Di Vincenzo as CFO. She is responsible for constantly realigning the app with the needs of its users. In the interview, she explains how LOVOO benefits from the experiences of the other companies in the portfolio of the ParshipMeet Group and how valuable the synergies with ProSiebenSat.1 are for the further development of the business.

»The word 'live' is effectively the COVID-19 update of our brand message: LOVOO is genuine, direct and authentic and brings people close together.«

Anna Maria Wanninger
Meet. Date. Fall in Love. Is that an accurate description of the essence of your brand?

Yes. But an even more up-to-date and specific claim is – “Meet Live. Date Live. Feel Alive”. The word “live” is effectively the COVID-19 update of our brand message: LOVOO is genuine, direct and authentic and brings people close together. Because we have an eye on the needs of our users and that not only relates to the search for love in a traditional way, but also more fundamental things like conversation, feeling connected and exchanging ideas with others. Quite a few researchers even see loneliness as a modern epidemic. And we want to take that into account by creating proximity – and providing live moments, that is to say aspects that are often absent in times of social distancing in particular.

How was it for you personally at the beginning of your tenure as CEO of LOVOO?

We stepped up as a new generation to succeed the founders and took over the management of LOVOO. I myself have received a lot of positive feedback and encouragement from all sides. There still aren’t that many women who run a tech company and are still under 30 as well. Of course, it is a particular challenge to adapt our product and our processes in the middle of a global pandemic to enable us to continue working successfully.

You were previously Vice President of Community & Partner Management as well as Head of Live Streaming & Community Management. Does this in-depth knowledge of the needs of your community in particular help you to further develop the app?

Yes, this experience was and is very helpful. To always be close to the users, receive direct feedback and embrace criticism in a constructive manner – of course, that helps with strategic decisions a great deal. An example: In 2018, after the acquisition by what was The Meet Group back then, we introduced live streaming as a new feature. Two years later, this business has become almost exactly as big as the dating part of our app. Increasingly combining these two worlds was and is an important matter for us. The hard work in the area of streaming in the last few years is a great help to me when it comes to repositioning our app.

We want to provide as many people as possible with the feeling of being connected, regardless of the setup. Live-video dating is a very good way to achieve that, also after the pandemic by the way.
What were the most important learnings of 2020 for you?

To be agile and therefore react to the changed needs of the users quickly. We rolled out live dating features within a very short time. As a result of the COVID-19 restrictions, we brought together our two core areas of dating and live-streaming even more. From then on, we have had next|date, a type of speed-dating format, the blind date or the 1:1 video chat, for example. 

Is live-video dating the global megatrend in times of social distancing?

Definitely. We want to provide as many people as possible with the feeling of being connected, regardless of the setup. Live-video dating is a very good way to achieve that, also after the pandemic by the way. Therefore we are working intensively on positioning ourselves even more clearly as a “go-to app” for virtual dates. Not only does it give people a feeling of security, because they are talking to their respective counterpart face to face before they meet in real life, but it is also our answer to dating app fatigue. Because: Who isn’t familiar with that? You have a match, think the person is great and your conversations are fun. Then there are various possibilities: Either the date takes place and everything fits. Or the conversation tails off and you don’t meet in person at all. It may also be the case that your counterpart’s appearance does not meet expectations, or the chemistry just isn’t right in real life. Hence, we offer our users the option of a virtual pre-date before the first in-person meeting. 

Online dating and live video dating are changing our lives even further. The potential is enormous!
In how many markets are you currently active?

Our core markets, in which we also actively engage in marketing for LOVOO, are Germany, Austria and Switzerland as well as Italy, Spain and France. But dating and specifically live-video dating are global megatrends.

What are your key targets for 2021?

The growth forecasts clearly confirm that online dating and live-video dating are changing our lifeworld even further. The potential is enormous! Not only since the COVID 19 pandemic do many people feel lonely, the number of singles is steadily increasing and more and more of them are digital natives. And exactly that is our area of expertise: We want to provide people with the best dating features in a safe environment. To that end, we are investing in innovative live formats and features. That we benefit from synergies within the ParshipMeet Group and consistently exploit them also plays a decisive role. We have already jointly implemented some projects very successfully and definitely want to build on that further.

»All brands learn from one another and benefit from the strengths and experiences of the others. A prime example of synergies is our new TV campaign.«
How should we picture the cooperation within the ParshipMeet Group in concrete terms?

There are extensive technical exchanges in all areas of the company, all brands learn from one another and benefit from the strengths and experiences of the others. A prime example of synergies is our new TV campaign, which we collectively prepared for its launch at the beginning of April 2021. Our colleagues from the ParshipMeet Group helped us a lot with our brand positioning. Parship and ElitePartner are TV professionals in this part of the world and we were able to learn quite a few things by watching them, for example that we should make commercials 10 seconds long instead of 20 for a start. When we first made the leap to linear television over two years ago, we simply concentrated on the streaming element, but now we want to highlight LOVOO as a brand more widely with all of its facets.

Are there any other examples of the extent to which you profit from one another?

The Seven.One Entertainment Group gave us the best possible advice on the right mix of marketing channels. Our colleagues there checked our performance marketing very thoroughly in respect of budget allocation. We drew on the expertise of the ParshipMeet Group in order to increase the focus on the DACH region even more. Conversely, the other brands also profit from us. We provide Parship with resources including a tool to detect data fraud which was developed in-house.

There is a fruitful exchange in every area, which we really treasure. We still have a lot of plans together.
And the fact that users frequently come across advertising for Parship in the LOVOO app is also striking…

Yes. The idea behind it is to cover all levels of dating within the ParshipMeet Group. From getting to know one another with no commitment to purposefully and seriously looking for a partner. For users who perhaps have a look around on LOVOO first, Parship may be the next step. There is a fruitful exchange in every area, which we really treasure. We first came to ProSiebenSat.1 in 2020 and are still at the beginning of our journey. But the Group’s channels with their wide coverage hold enormous potential for us. We still have a lot of plans together.

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