How Equinox Media CEO Jason LaRose is using workout videos to create a media business

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Equinox took the gym and turned it into a premium product. Now the company is looking to do the same with the fitness instruction videos you watch online — think high-end camera work instead of vertical video shot on an iPhone, featuring some of their 6,000 instructors and full-fledged classes.

Equinox Group is serious enough about it that they’ve put a new division of the company, Equinox Media, to the task.

“We’re really running a half fitness club, half production studio every single day,” Equinox Media CEO Jason LaRose said on this week’s episode of Making Marketing.

In this, LaRose said, they’re responding to trends among existing customers — who in surveys say they want to spend more time with the brand — and Americans as a whole. “When you see a $4 trillion wellness economy, when you see gym or club memberships at an all-time high in this country while you also see digital content going through the roof, I think you’re on to something where you really need to follow the consumer.”

In this week’s episode of Making Marketing, LaRose talked about starting a content-making company from scratch, how stores today are more about marketing than bringing in revenue and why media will be a customer acquisition tool.

Here are a few highlights from the conversation, lightly edited for clarity.

Marketing by the square foot
“I think what’s changed is there was a time when marketing drove people to stores. And I think now stores are marketing. Transactional business doesn’t happen at the mall anymore. There’s no point; it can just happen online. But it doesn’t mean that that physical experience can’t give me a better feeling for your brand, a better understanding, a deeper connection with that, and that experience can put you in the top of my mind so that when I do have a transactional experience, then you’re in that space for me. And I think that’s what you’re seeing a lot of retailers and brands play with.”

Video extends the brand to areas without their brick-and-mortar gyms
“There’s a lot of this country that doesn’t live very close to an Equinox or near a SoulCycle. That doesn’t mean people don’t clamor for that great content, or that they don’t know these brands. Because they do. We have a very transient society who makes their way to these markets. Social media has flattened out a lot of the information asymmetry around a lot of those things anyway, and people want access to those brands. So our ability to bring them to you whether you’re a member who lives across the street from a club or a SoulCycle or maybe 500 miles away but aspirationally wants to workout with these same coaches, and have that same access to content… I think it becomes an ‘and’ strategy for sure.”

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