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.

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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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