Night Light | Single Forever

What’s the deal with all these dating shows on YouTube?

When I think back to the early MTV days, I think of Next, Room Raiders, and Parental Control. If you asked my parents, they’d say they watched The Dating Game or Blind Date. Gen Z is now watching their dating shows on YouTube, not on streaming services.

Saving one Gen Z life at a time.

Why do dating shows on YouTube work so well?

I think there are a few reasons why these formats are doing well on YouTube…

1️⃣ This format works well for short-form content. I’ve seen so many clips across TikTok, Reels, and YouTube Shorts. It’s not hard to find entire accounts dedicated to favorite contestants.

There’s no shortage of Nectar clips

2️⃣ Many of the contestants are popular creators who already have a following, and producers are not pulling random people off the street, hoping they’re going to be engaging. They’re focused on bringing on popular creators that provide a better viewer experience.

I’m sure this selection process is pretty intense.

3️⃣ Watch-alongs with big Twitch and YouTube creators are incredibly popular. I’ve now come across more than 10 Twitch streamers that are reacting to the Sidemen’s dating show. We’re watching these shows alongside our favorite creators—or at least the shows that won’t copyright claim the content. Who doesn’t want to watch and react to the AMP boys recreate The Button?

Look at all these views on watch-alongs lately

Reality dating shows are coming full circle…

I was interested to see what the application looks like to get on Nectar’s speed dating show:

Then I got to this point and that’s where I’m starting to see how they’re selecting applicants:

The casting call is for the LA area; you list your social handles and other digital series (YouTube) appearances. Dating shows have had a long history of being scripted—no surprise there. I don’t think that shows on YouTube are any different. Producers pick the most interesting (and attractive) contestants with large social followings. We’re just seeing the same thing we saw years ago on MTV, now on YouTube.

The Big Takeaway:

Our parents’ generation watched dating shows, my generation grew up with shows on MTV, now Gen Z is binging them on YouTube. The formats are being recycled for a new audience who are digitally native. I think they’re still heavily scripted—many of the contestants are already big on social media. Gen Z and Gen Alpha will grow up watching dating shows on YouTube produced and directed by their favorite creators.

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