Sustainable Solution or Expensive Experiment?
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As health and fitness clubs continue to adjust to social distancing guidelines and even the possibility of future closings, many operators are searching for digital solutions to keep members moving at home. Developing and delivering a platform of high-quality digital workouts can be a challenging and costly venture, so when everything does return to normal, was the effort a sustainable solution or just an expensive experiment?
Platform, Programming, People and Production
The initial investment and ongoing expenses of building your own digital platform can quickly outweigh the return, especially if production quality is below par and the business model is not properly scaled to reach a large audience. The expense of video platforms, monthly bandwidth charges, ongoing programming costs for new content, capital expenses for cameras, lighting, sound, space and staging, music and music licensing costs, additional payroll and personnel costs, marketing costs to promote the new offering, and the production and post-production costs of creating video workouts can quickly overshadow the potential revenue. If the quality is too low and the financial investment too costly, the venture into DIY digital workouts will prove to be nothing more than an expensive experiment.
In order to compete in the digital workout space, every element of the product (the platform, programming, people, production and price) need to compete head-to-head with the likes of Peloton, Beachbody, Apple's new Fitness+ and others. As more companies enter the space each month, and more free YouTube workout videos are uploaded every day, the more sustainable solution is to find a partner who can provide professional content, ideally one that complements the live experience at your facility.
Streaming Workouts Vs. Social Experiences
It should come as no surprise that the adoption of streaming at-home workouts has been on the rise. Club shutdowns and the COVID-19 pandemic aside, streaming workouts have been gaining in popularity for years. Imagine the mildly-content member who shows up at a health club, only to work out alone on a machine with headphones and with little to no personal connection or social interaction. Even pre-pandemic, for this member, the idea of saving a little commute time and gas money for the convenience of being able to work out "anytime anywhere" was a strong proposition.
However, for those members who are socially connected to your facility, specifically those who are accustomed to working out in groups, the energy, the connection and the shared experience is impossible to replicate. In addition to the enthusiasm and coaching of a great instructor and the music from a great sound system, the live experience has social and psychological benefits that are impossible to duplicate through an app and a screen. As authors Chip and Dan Heath discuss in their book, The Power of Moments, creating experiences that are both "meaningful and memorable" often involves social connection, because quite simply, the most impactful experiences are "strengthened because we share them with others."
Complementing the Live Experience
I am a huge Atlanta United soccer fan. I registered for season tickets as soon as Major League Soccer announced there would be an expansion team. I have been part of the record-setting, chanting and screaming crowds in the recently built Mercedes Benz Stadium. With 50,000+ other fans, I have shared the experience with both friends and family and the strangers who have seats nearby. And, although I don't know most of their names, we have high-fived often enough that I consider them close fellow fan friends. No matter the quality of my TV or sound system at home, these shared experiences cannot be remanufactured at home. It's not the same. For now, and for a time, watching on television is a necessary substitute. For the Atlanta United organization, it's a great way to keep fans connected when they can't make it to the game. And, it is a good way for people to be introduced to the team. But, it is no replacement for the real thing.
The MOSSA MOVE Affiliate Program
We launched the MOSSA MOVE digital workouts on Xbox Fitness in 2013 with the goal of getting people off the couch and getting people moving (See Club Insider's November 2013 Cover Story by going to bit.ly/clubinsider105). We knew that, if we helped people get started in the safe space of their own homes, they would gain confidence. From there, we could help them find one of the hundreds of facilities that offer our live, instructor-led group fitness workouts. In 2018, we moved the programs to a dedicated platform and created an affiliate program and revenue share for partnering health clubs. As members needed flexibility, were traveling for business or away on vacation, or even if life was just too challenging to make it to the facility on a regular basis, MOSSA MOVE workouts provided a great supplement for the live workouts they loved.
As health clubs were forced to close their doors in March, we launched a massive effort to help clubs keep their members moving, and most importantly, connected. Through the MOSSA MOVE Affiliate Program, facilities can offer professional digital workouts to members and potential members and receive a portion of the monthly subscription. After a webcast on Friday, March 13, many of our customers were up and running the very next day.
"The MOSSA MOVE Affiliate Program was there for us and our members when we needed it most. Our members LOVE their MOSSA programs, and not being able to experience live workouts at the club (during our mandated club closure) was really, really hard for them. We launched the MOSSA MOVE App and immediately reconnected with our members; it helped them get their favorite workouts in at times that were convenient for them, which is especially valuable during a time when everyone's schedule needs to be flexible," said Stephen Roma, CEO of Jersey Strong.
We are so proud of the work that our partners have done to navigate the challenges of 2020, and we are thankful that the MOSSA MOVE platform could provide a solution to an unimaginable challenge. As we look to the future, we know digital workouts can play a bigger role in reaching more people, getting more people moving and helping people find connection and community at the best (social) health clubs around the world. Of course, we are looking forward to the day when we can high-five again with our fitness friends because there really is no replacement for the real thing.
To learn more about the MOSSA MOVE Affiliate Program and how your facility can offer digital workouts to your member and potential members, please visit www.mossa.net.