SMW '18: Meet Group's Lauren Hallanan Talks Solo Streaming and Dating Apps

Learn more about solo streamers at Streaming Media's next event.

Read the complete transcript of this interview:

Tim Siglin: Welcome back to Streaming Media West 2018, I'm Tim Siglin, contributing editor with Streaming Media Magazine, and the founding executive director of the not-for-profit Help Me! Stream. Today, I have with me Lauren Hallanan with the Meet Group. What is the Meet Group, exactly?

Lauren Hallanan: The Meet Group is a portfolio of social, mobile entertainment apps, so, our main primary apps are called Meet Me, Scout, Tagged and Lovoo. And, as of this year, we've added live streaming into these social dating apps. So, now we have live streaming on all four apps, and we currently have approximately 125,000 broadcasters across all four of these apps.

Tim Siglin: So, the first three names sounded normal. The last name you said Lovoo?

Lauren Hallanan: Lovoo is a dating app that's originally from Germany, and so it's mainly targeted at a European market, which is why, as Americans, we're unfamiliar with it. But it's actually quite popular over in Germany and some other European countries.

Tim Siglin: Interesting. So, you’re going to be on a panel today. What will you be talking about?

Lauren Hallanan: The topic is Solo Streamers. We're talking about it from a streamers’ point of view. What it is like to livestream, and what goes into becoming a successful live streamer. And also, how brands can work with live streamers, because, you know, we're all familiar with how brands can work with, say, a YouTuber, an Instagram star, but brands aren't as familiar with how to work with a live streamer, and I think it's a lot different, actually. There's some different things that you need to consider that maybe they don't know about.

Tim Siglin: And one of those things might be when it's live, there's no way for somebody to check the content before it goes live. How do you protect both the brand and the solo streamer themselves in those situations?

Lauren Hallanan: I think it just takes a lot of due diligence ahead of time, from the brand side, particularly. You know, to look at the streamer, you know, watch several of their streams, understand their style, what type of person they are. And also, you know, it's really important that this person is truly a fan of your product and your brand, because that will come off very clearly onscreen.

You know, of course, yes, there are always some risks associated with it, but I think if you do enough due diligence in advance, you can clearly see what type of person this is, you know, and that they're not going to ... They might go off script, but they're not gonna go in a wrong direction.

Tim Siglin: Okay, got it. So, you're essentially looking at their historical-

Lauren Hallanan: You're a judge of character, you know.

Tim Siglin: Yeah, a judge of character from a historical standpoint. Interesting. In the panel, and even in what you're talking about with solo streamers, we're essentially talking about the consumer as content creator live, which really is interesting, because they have to get comfortable with doing that in and of itself. Is there training that those people can get in sort of how to do it, or is it just they're watching YouTube influencers, or Instagram influencers, and then sort of mimicking those styles?

Lauren Hallanan: So, there's a couple of different ways. I think you're correct that it's user-generated content, so, most of the people who stream, at least on our apps, a lot of them have never actually created content before. Maybe they do have some content on other channels, but, for a lot of them, this is their first time becoming a content creator with a following and an audience. A lot of them will start out by watching other people's live streams and kind of picking up on what they're doing, and then applying it to their stream.

Lauren Hallanan: For us, we also have a dedicated talent team who works with ... You know, we watch, we monitor our apps constantly, and if we see someone that we think has a lot of potential, you know, we will contact them and get in touch and we will kind of bring them into a training program where we kind of nurture them and give them tips and tricks.

Tim Siglin: Almost like the old-school speakers bureau in that way.

Lauren Hallanan: Exactly. And, you know, we give them a chance to kind of see if they can develop more rapidly, if they can pick up on this. And then, we also have a program where, if you reach a certain level as a broadcaster on our platform, then you become what we call a top streamer, and this also comes with some benefits and some additional training. So, I think a lot of the platforms are like this, because it's really important to help cultivate that talent, because, you know, for example, with YouTube, you can go all over the internet and search for ... There's a lot of resources and tips and tricks for how to become a good YouTuber.

Tim Siglin: Right, sure.

Lauren Hallanan: Being a professional live streamer is still kind of a nascent industry, so there's not as much out there for people to learn from.

Tim Siglin: Now, you mentioned they're dating apps. These people are creating content that's not just being done to get a date, it's actually being done to get an audience, is part of what you said.

Lauren Hallanan: Our apps are like social dating apps, so they're not as serious. You know, some people are looking for a connection, but the analogy that we often use is that the vibe of our platforms is similar to a bar. Some people are going to hang out with their friends. Some people are going to maybe find a date. Some people ... There's lots of different reasons why you might just go hang out at a bar. You know, you probably go to a bar because you're lonely and you just want someone to talk to.

So, with live streaming, the content is generally more peer-to-peer type, you know, you're just hanging out with your friends kind of vibe, and then, maybe in the chat section of the app is a little bit more of the "I'm looking for a date"-type of vibe.

Tim Siglin: Okay, got it. So, what most people would see in the video content is not me asking for a date. It's me entertaining my friends or entertaining an audience.

Lauren Hallanan: Exactly.

Tim Siglin: Okay. All right, well, thank you very much for your time.

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