Club Insider

Internet Middlemen and the Fitness Industry

Part III

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Stephen TharrettStephen Tharrett

Publisher's Note: In Parts I and II of this 3-part series on fitness Internet Middlemen, Stephen and Mark provided an overview of the Internet Middleman's business model, after which they proceeded to share insights into the value propositions of the leading fitness Internet Middlemen. In this final Part III of the series, they will initially look at the counter movement that is taking place with regards to ClassPass, despite it retaining 97% of its partner studios and will then bring forward strategies on how a boutique fitness studio can successfully partner with Internet Middlemen.

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In Part I of this series, we highlighted a quote from famous economist Joseph Schumpeter, which said, "Situations emerge in the process of creative destruction in which many firms have to perish that nevertheless would be able to live on vigorously and usefully if they could weather a particular storm." Well, in this final part of our 3-part series, our overarching goal is to offer up some strategies that will allow your business to weather the present storm so that, instead of perishing, your business lives on vigorously.

Mark WilliamsonMark Williamson

The ClassPass Counter Movement
Momentum is Building

There is presently an underground movement among some prominent club and studio operators that will soon move above ground. These operators, some of whom represent large and well-respected studio brands, feel that ClassPass has hurt their business models, and if allowed to continue, its juggernaut will permanently damage the studio industry. This growing group of dissidents is strongly opposed to the value proposition that ClassPass presently offers, believing it devalues their respective brands and ultimately takes money out of their pockets. Our guess is that, unless ClassPass and other prospective fitness Internet Middlemen reconsider their value proposition and take into account the needs of the industry they serve, their businesses will experience considerable backlash and eventually a decline in profitability.

As of this moment, we are not aware of any counter movements involving the other fitness Internet Middlemen, but this may be because they are either still emerging and have not been embraced to the extent ClassPass has, or they have managed to adapt their value proposition such that it does not incite the level of rebellion that appears to be headed ClassPass's way.

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