(Editors' Note: This sponsored article by Broadcastvision is part of Club Industry's report, "Fitness Trends: Spotlight on 2020.")
In the past, fitness clubs would either offer cardio equipment with personal viewing screens or overhead TVs mounted on walls or from ceilings for multiple members to share. It was rare to see both offered. The increase in smartphone usage is definitely making an impact on the fitness industry, and club owners are adapting to it. In 2017, the number of smartphone users in the United States was estimated at 224 million; by 2022, it is expected to exceed 270 million.
Along with the increase in smartphone usage, the price of large-screen TVs has dramatically decreased in the past several years. But that’s not the only change. Not only are large-screen TVs more affordable, but they also are easier to install. Some of you may remember the days when those heavy CRT TVs were cutting edge. A 25-inch CRT TV weighed more than 100 pounds and required at least three people to install it, requiring a durable mount and, if you were hanging the TVs, a lift of some sort. Not only were the TVs expensive, but the overall cost once you included mounting hardware and labor also was a serious investment. Compare that to today’s technology. A 50-inch LED TV now weighs on average 30 pounds and, because of its lighter weight, it doesn’t require the costly mounting hardware or the same amount of labor hours for installation. The cost also has decreased. A 50-inch TV now is less than $300 for a consumer model; commercial models will cost you on average $700. The reason for the difference in price between the consumer and commercial models comes down to features and durability. The built-in models are designed to run between 17 hours and 24 hours per day, and they have longer warranties, a better picture and more features.
In the past six months, more fitness club operators are installing large-screen TVs in their facilities as well as installing built-in TVs/entertainment on their cardio equipment. The current trend is to purchase cardio equipment with built-in or attached entertainment and to install three to four large-screen TVs throughout the club. Depending on the size of the facility, a few TVs will be installed in the cardio area and throughout the free-weight and circuit training areas. In order to allow members to have access to the audio from these large-screen TVs, club owners are installing new technology that is Wi-Fi based. This technology sends the audio from any of the TVs to an app that is downloaded on the user’s smartphone or tablet. This allows the members to tune into any of the TVs to listen to the audio with no restrictions.
Fitness clubs realize the importance of keeping their members entertained, both on the cardio equipment and throughout the club. Since this new technology allows the members to listen to the large-screen TVs using their smartphones, they are not restricted to the cardio area, and they can roam the entire club.
In addition to the freedom that this technology creates for members, the technology also allows the fitness club operators to customize the app with their logo and brand colors, integrate it easily into their app and advertise on the app.
Mark Blake has been the COO of Broadcastvision Entertainment since 2009, and he has been involved in the fitness industry since 1997. Broadcastvision Entertainment is a manufacturer of high-quality, commercial-grade fitness entertainment products including AudioFetch, CAB for cable, satellite and IPTV set-top box control, Axcess Universal Personal Screen Controller, 863MHz / 900MHz Wireless, FM Wireless, large-screen TVs and mounts, sound systems, digital signage, branded music and messaging, and personal viewing screens. To learn more, contact Blake at [email protected] or 888-330-4283 ext. 102.