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Reality TV dating, version 2.0?
A former Facebook (FB) employee and his standup comedian co-creator are live streaming blind dates over Instagram, while in front of a live audience. The show, called ‘UpDating,’ has become a hit in New York City, carving out a niche at the intersection of entertainment and digital dating.
UpDating co-creator Harrison Forman told Yahoo Finance’s YFi PM that it’s all part of the evolution of social media, and its influence on modern-day mating rituals.
“Every other week there’s always a new system. It was Facebook Live a year or two ago, now its Instagram Live, and it’s all about making it interactive,” Forman said. “That’s where entertainment has been going.”
So how does it work?
Standup comedian and co-creator of UpDating Brandon Berman told Yahoo Finance that he and Harrison cast potential love matches in advance.
“We find characters, people that are interesting, people that are looking for love. We cast it in a way that we know it’ll create a spark with somebody or something that will turn into something with someone in the audience,” he said.
Throughout the show, audience members can send a direct message to the UpDatingShow Instagram, use Instagram polls, or add comments asking questions or for more information they want to find out from the daters.
Then, the show’s creators then introduce topics or questions into the date when they feel it’s appropriate. During the halftime report, the audience then gets to vote on whether or not they want to see a part two of the date, or see a person replaced.
The digital dating show charges roughly $15 per ticket, and pulls in about $2,500 from ticket sales per show. Forman and Berman are hoping to hit $200,000 in revenue by the end of 2019.
“We’ve been selling out 20, 25 shows with almost no marketing. People want to see someone similar to themselves on a first date,” Berman said. “Through the fall we’re going to really star vamping up, summer right now we’re kind of planning out how we’re going to take next year.”
In a world where dating shows have become a global phenomenon, what makes UpDating stand out? “There are no rules for our show,” Forman said.
McKenzie DeGroot is a producer at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter: @degrootmckenzie