WW pumps up app-based membership with podcasts, virtual experiences

Dive Brief:

  • WW, formerly known as Weight Watchers before a 2018 rebrand, this week launched its Digital 360 (D360) membership plan with “digitally savvy, always-on and on-the-go member[s]” in mind, according to an announcement.
  • D360 features interactive livestreams called CoachLives that will also be available on-demand via the WW app. The effort also includes WalkTalks, which pair celebrity voices with walking workouts, and the Weighing In podcast. D360 also includes live and interactive events featuring experts guests.
  • WW’s D360 membership plan continues the brand’s mobile efforts, which also include the personalized, app-based myWW+ program, tailored to consumer behaviors that have changed due to the pandemic.

Dive Insight:

WW’s D360 plan and new app-based offerings is an attempt to further align the long-running company with the type of content consumers crave and on their preferred mobile platforms. As part of WW’s rebrand in 2018, it updated its WW app, modernizing it to meet consumer demands including personalization and social features.

The renewed focus on digital and mobile in 2021 comes as WW had to close physical locations and layoff employees last year because of the pandemic, according to The Business Journals. The chain’s physical presence going forward could be smaller as its digital focus grows, with the company reporting a 23% increase in digital revenue in the third quarter.

In general, the volume of livestreamed video content has increased during the pandemic as consumers seek entertaining and educational content, often about wellness. The same can be said about podcasts, which rebounded with consumers after an initial dip in consumption when the pandemic scuttled commutes. By running virtual events and experiences, WW can also tap into the trend for such engagements that has accelerated during the past several months as consumers spend more time at home.

Releasing wellness content like that provided by WW is another marketing tactic that has gained steam during the health crisis. HBO released a wellness app to promote a new season of “His Dark Materials,” home care marketer Henkel sponsored a wellness web series and Essence hosted a virtual wellness event.

WW’s app-based offerings come as other companies make moves in the fitness and health space. Nike last year drove digital revenue with a jump in demand for its app, including its Nike Training Club and Nike Run Club offerings. However, Under Armour sold its MyFitnessPal platform and stopped operating its Endomondo social fitness network as part of a plan to focus on key strengths.

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