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Does A Video Subscription Make Peloton A Media Company?

Does A Video Subscription Make Peloton A Media Company?

A video-based monthly subscription service costing around $39 a month sounds like something pretty special.

For that money, one assumes the video content would be truly engaging, exclusive, and, of course, entertaining. Maybe. But also add a lot of work — like climbing hills and sprinting to the finish line.

What subscription service are we talking about? It’s Peloton, the much talked about cycling and fitness platform where one gets to hard ride (or run) while watching an instructor you (and other riders) see on a big iPad-like screen in real-time or on-demand.

Think about the $39-a-month price tag — almost three times the price of Netflix, almost five times the cost of the upcoming Disney+. Peloton has 511,000 customers, as of June.

Wait, you say. This isn’t the same thing.

Whatever companies might tout, consumer marketers of all types are increasingly mulling over the idea of being a “media company” — this according to Scott Carlin, newly installed as executive vice president, global media and entertainment of Magid, the media consulting/analytics company, who recently spoke with TV Watch. 

Carlin knows his stuff, being a longtime TV program selling executive. He was the former president of HBO Domestic Television and before that, executive vice president for Warner Bros. Domestic Television.

His analysis — as well as analysis from others — comes from the current environment. Consider how many companies are deep into the digital video business, especially when it comes to content marketing. This isn’t a big leap. Then consider all kinds of companies that in recent years moved into media: Amazon, Apple and Walmart, to name a few.

For Peloton, all this goes a step further. It’s all about the screen, a slightly larger-looking iPad-like screen that attaches to a Peloton bike, which is priced north of $2,200. That’s right. This is addition to the $39 a-month subscription.

Sounds pricey. But considering some high-end spinning classes can cost $40 to $50 per hour class, the $39-a-month price seems cheap. And if you want a cheaper route, use your own laptop or iPad and get on your own in-home bike trainer.

Either way, it’s about the screen, which makes Peloton unique in the niche monthly digital subscription business. What’s to prevent it — in future years — from running some advertising before (pre-roll) or after (post-roll) those classes?

Perhaps a cheaper ad-supported option priced at a more affordable $10 a month is coming.

Now that’s thinking like a media company.

View the original commentary on MediaPost TV Watch.

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