Peloton's Rides Are More Scripted Than You Think

'Hollywood Reporter' looks at how the company aims to be the 'Netflix of wellness'
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 20, 2021 1:45 PM CDT
Peloton's Rides Are More Scripted Than You Think
Peloton instructors Jess King, left, Robin Arzon, center, and Rebecca Kennedy attend the company's IPO at the Nasdaq MarketSite in 2019 in New York.   (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

Peloton's fortunes have soared during the pandemic, with more people than ever shelling out $2,000 or more for an exercise bike and riding along with instructors on video. But what happens as the world reopens and people aren't stuck at home as much? The Hollywood Reporter takes a look at the company's strategy, with Courtney Rubin writing that Peloton doesn't so much function as an exercise company as an "old Hollywood studio." That can be seen most clearly in the company's grooming of instructors, who become stars in their own right signed to multi-year contracts. "The period between when an instructor is hired and when they actually appear on the platform includes rehearsals and filling in (training) credentials ... but mostly focuses on brand building." And the resulting classes are viewed by Peloton more as "shows," some of which are carefully scripted.

"They are tightly produced by a team that collectively, according to the company, has won more than 19 Emmys," writes Rubin. For instance, when star instructor Robin Arzon "announced her pregnancy during a ride in September, producers needed to know that she planned to do it in minute 25, so they could get the best shot." The company even has a chief content officer, Jennifer Cotter, whose mission is to help Peloton become more of a media company, albeit one focused on fitness. That includes videos produced for YouTube and Instagram. In other words, Peloton hopes to become the "Netflix of wellness," as Cotter puts it. Read the full story, which notes the company is teaming up with the likes of Beyonce and Taylor Swift as it navigates the potentially rocky aspect of using copyrighted music in classes. (More Peloton stories.)

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