Is Peloton mainly a streaming service?
The Future. After soaking up explosive growth during COVID, Peloton is completing its transition from fitness platform to the “Netflix of wellness.” Top celebrities, musicians, brands, and audiences are on board, which could prove that spinning your own influencer/creator culture is the best way to create both brand loyalty and cultural buzz in the digital age.
Is Peloton an old Hollywood studio masquerading as a fitness company? That was CEO John Foley’s plan all along.
- It’s a production machine. Other than its famous cycling and treadmill classes, it also has classes in barre, dance cardio, and “bike boot camp,” producing 19 new classes a day that are available in the U.S., U.K., Germany, and Canada.
- It has stars. Besides scoring celebrity partnerships with the likes of Beyoncé and Shonda Rhimes, Peloton’s instructors have become stars in their own right — Robin Arzón has 770K followers on Instagram and can command a 20,000-person audience per class. Many of the top instructors have signed with agences, like UTA and A3.
- It builds talent. When the company hires a new instructor, it goes beyond just getting them the proper certifications or rehearsing routines, it literally helps them build their brands. Jennifer Cotter, Peloton’s chief content officer, puts it like this: “tell us what you think is unique about you and we’re going to help you make sure you have a path for success.”
- It leans into storytelling. Peloton’s classes are actually highly scripted, with scripts due 36 hours before showtime. This is especially true of its Artists Series classes, which are meant to celebrate specific musicians.
On top of all of that, it also has flagship studio spaces: an already-open New York facility, a soon-to-open London one, and also a broadcast center to give visitors a peek at the action.
The Netflix of wellness
When Peloton closed a $550 million fundraising round, the company declared that it wanted to build “a media company akin to Netflix,” positioning the treadmill as “a portal for experiences.” Internally, classes are described as “mini shows that [get] more and more branded to who the instructor is.” Cotter takes it a step further, wondering, “are we the Netflix of wellness? Can we tell stories outside of class?
Well, Peloton is certainly trying. It produces content for YouTube and Instagram that center around the lifestyle of the instructors, including a seven-minute video about Arzón’s pregnancy journey — an announcement that was initially made at exactly the 25-minute mark of a popular class so that the camera operators could get the best shot. Now, that’s focusing on the entertainment.