checks out her
V I D E O DAT I
Is DTV dating by television the
matchmaking wave of the future?
ou walk into a small win-
dowless room and sit down.
A small videotape camera
focuses on you. The inter-
viewer/taper sits down in
the opposite chair. The room is stark,
but lacks distractions. The camera
rolls and you begin a five-to-eight
minute conversation that, if suc-
cessful, leads you to a more active
The videotaping is the key attrac-
tion of the Great Expectations dating
service, a 13-year-old company that
opened its first Michigan office last
October in Southfield. As of late
December, the local office reported
more than 400 members — slightly
more men than women — making it
"a record-breaking center, as far as
how many people we've signed up,"
says Lisa Woods, corporate member-
ship services director. Marla Sarver,
they don't want to go to bars to meet first name. And where in the area
people. They don't want to go on blind they live. Then opposite that we have
dates. They don't want to date the peo- • the photos, (taken on location at the
GE office). And then from that we
ple they work with. They're limited?'
GE figures show that one in ten have the third reference and that is
of their members marries a fellow the cassette tape, which gives you a
member. However, adds Woods, "Our three-dimensional look at that per-
success is measured by a lot of other son. If you see a slight attraction in
things besides marriage. Nationally, the photograph you might see a
we have 60,000 members, we've had sparkle in the eye — that you can't
about 6,000 marriages, so that people find in a photograph — in a three-
would say that's a 10 percent success. dimensional (video). Plus you get to
While the GE representatives However, that success does not ac- see how they carry themselves over
would not discuss prices, the service count for people who have decided to the tape and get a real feeling for the
is obviously not cheap. Prices for live together or just people who have person!'
similar services nationwide general- met real good friends. And also, just
Once the presentation is complete,
ly begin at more than $200. Woods did what you learn about yourself,
other members may 'select' that new
say that GE offers different prices for through the selection process?'
member, or the new person can peruse
different programs, based on length of
any other member's materials. When
membership. She says their clientele
a selection is made, GE sends the
is "primarily professional, but we a three-step self-presentation, accord-
selected person a card in the mail.
have some blue collar workers."
That person then goes to the GE of-
Why do people use the GE ser-
fice, views the materials of the
vice? "They're busy, they're not ex- who I am, what I'm looking for! It has
member who made the selection and
posed to the types of people they'd like racial, religious dating preferences, if
decides whether or not to consent to
to meet;' explains Sarver. "They
a meeting. Only after mutual consent
spend a lot of time at their career,
local sales director, adds, "We're ex-
pecting, when we're in full swing, to
be getting between 250-300 (new)
members a month?'
In 22 centers nationwide (Sarver
expects that number to double in the
next two years), the male/female ratio
is approximately 55/45. They accept
people from 23 to 65 years old,
although the bulk of their member-
ship is in the 25-to-45 age range.