Anna Langridge, founder of content creation company 1FitLife, considers whether the flourishing on-demand and live streaming market, which is allowing members to workout when and where they like, can complement smaller gym and boutique studio offerings.
Anytime, anywhere… ALTHOUGH still a relative newcomer to the sector, the virtual fitness market is growing at pace and gaining impressive user numbers. It’s convenient, it offers a huge choice of workouts at low consumer costs, it provides social connection, it’s competitive and it’s exciting. On-demand fitness won’t be a niche offering, reserved for bigger operators and industry Goliaths like Peleton or Flywheel, for much longer – by 2020, it’s estimated the majority of fitness clubs will have incorporated virtual fitness in some form. It’s easy to perceive digital fitness as a competitor to traditional gym offerings, but developing an at-home presence can help your bricks and mortar business, too. It’s a natural next step; one supports the other. Being successful in the on-demand sector doesn’t depend on the square footage of your club, or competitors in your local area or the number of members you have – your on-demand market is global. As long as you have a great proposition, offering value for money, and you’re willing invest in digital marketing, any boutique or smaller gym can successfully compete with
the bigger guys. The main financial benefit is developing a secondary flow, through additional subscription revenue for your business. Research shows people who use on-demand fitness spend 37 per cent of their total fitness budget on these services. Yes, members can experience your brand at home, which can improve retention, but that shouldn’t be your main motivator. Extending your brand’s reach from a five-mile drive time around your club is almost impossible unless you open another site; whereas the digital fitness world offers limitless in opportunity. Why can’t your brand be as well known in Thailand as it is in Twickenham? In the past, product diversification was high risk and took time. Today, if you hope to grow a sustainable business that can survive market competition, it’s a must. Just look at Apple’s foray into credit cards – they’ve defined themselves not as a computer or phone manufacturer, but as a trusted symbol of innovation. With this trust, they can diversify into any market they choose, as
long as it is innovative. Fitness is no different. You can’t expect to survive as just a ‘gym brand’ any longer; at some stage all successful gyms must diversify. Crucially, it’s quality content that will make the leap a successful one. Great workouts keep people coming back, but to create them you need presenters with excellent form who are comfortable in front of a camera. Then once you have content, how do you take it to market? What content management system should you choose? How do you set up the subscription process? Don’t forget when forecasting revenue that app stores charge 30 per cent of the total revenue taken via app subscriptions. It’s painful to find this out later in your journey. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking any video production house will do. Producing and directing fitness content takes experience and patience – creating good content isn’t a quick process. A great in-club fitness presenter can freeze on screen and lose confidence when a camera is on them. It takes practice to be excellent on screen, and practice while filming is a costly exercise.
Make sure you organise a test shoot first, which also allows you to ensure lighting is right and the set looks perfect. At 1FitLife we produce a wide range of virtual fitness content, both live and on-demand. Everyone on our team, from our models to those writing, producing and directing the videos, knows fitness inside out, so you can be confident your content will be accurate and safe. There are a number of other digital fitness solutions out there, which offer ‘off-the-shelf’ white label capabilities, so you don’t have to develop your own platform. Most of these will offer a simple commercial partnership that shares the revenue you make. While partnering with a white label tech partner, you can expect to share around 15-20 per cent of your revenue. n Anna Langridge is director ofproduction at 1FitLife, a qualified Master Personal Trainer (with the AIF in Sydney, Australia) and a Pilates instructor. Having worked with EastWest International (Warner Music Group) she has extensive production and promotions experience.
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