As youngsters put off marriage, BharatMatrimony eyes the dating pie

25 years after its formation, changing youth preferences force India’s largest matrimonial service looks seriously at the dating market.
Image for representational purpose only| Photo| Belo Horizonte/ Pexels
Image for representational purpose only| Photo| Belo Horizonte/ Pexels

Tired of casual dates, Tinder relationships and all the drama? Looking for something serious? India’s largest matchmaking website,, may have something lined up for you in two months.

After resisting the temptation to launch a ‘dating app’ for the last quarter century, the ‘matrimonial website’ is finally getting ready to enter the dating scene with a new platform ‘’.

The company has acquired the domain name and are currently working on the product that will target people who may not be ready to ‘settle down’ yet, but don’t want to deny themselves the romance of a relationship. 

“When people come to the Matrimony, the intent is very clear, they want to get married. However, we figured out there is a set of users who want to fall in love or want to have a serious relationship,” said CEO, Murugavel Janakiraman. “That's what is attempting to do,” he said. 

Cultural Shifts

The move comes in the context of a sea-change in the young people’s attitude towards relationships and marriage. While ‘dating’ may have been a relatively unknown concept when BharatMatrimony started in 1997, today’s generation is more keen on getting to know someone and spending quality time together before committing to a long-term bond like marriage. There is also a growing section of the youth who are against the very concept of marriage. 

For a long time, however, India’s matrimonial giants – such as, and – resisted the temptation to launch dating sites, for two reasons: First, they did not want to dilute their image as platforms for those who are serious about finding a soulmate for life. Such an image helped attract prospective customers, given that, in traditional India, the initiative to get someone married was often taken by parents and siblings.

They were also worried about the possibility of cannibalization, where their dating app ends up competing with their matrimonial app.

But now, with the increasing acceptability of ‘dating’ in Indian society and along with a rise in apathy towards marriage among the young, the company seems to have decided to take the plunge. 

At the same time, Murugavel Janakiraman took pains to explain that will not be another casual dating service, but will be targeted at those looking for ‘serious’ and ‘meaningful’ relationships.

“It's in line with our ethos and values in helping people to find a life partner…our ability has always been to help people find meaningful relationships,” he explained.

The CEO said the company will ensure that will be unlike the other dating platforms in the market, many of which, he said, were “frivolous and not standing for something meaningful.” 

However, he did not explain how the platform would keep out the ‘frivolous’ parties.

It is possible that the company may borrow a leaf from its playbook for the matrimonial websites to keep the ‘non-serious’ players away.

It has largely kept non-serious customers away from its matrimonial platform by enforcing a high cost of enrollment, with the service costing between Rs 1,600-2,000 per month. It is also possible that the company may offer some kind of ‘verification service’ to create a separate class of verified profiles.

Interestingly, one of its BharatMatrimony’s rivals,, had acquired a dating platform called Frivil in 2016. Murugavel Janakiraman, however, said is not looking to buy an existing player as no one has quite implemented what the company has in mind.

“I don't think anybody in India has worked on the serious relationship segment… that's our understanding. So we prefer to build it organically,” he said during a conference call with investors to discuss the company’s second quarter performance. 

He also did not disclose details about the upcoming product, besides saying that it would be launched in the next two months.

“We're working on it,” he said. 

“It's too early to tell what level of investment we're going to do. So, maybe next quarter, we'll be in a position to give some comments on that, because, at this point of time, we're focused on getting the product right and want to understand how we want to take the product forward, marketing and other strategies,” he said. 

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The New Indian Express