ClassPass, the fitness platform that connects gym-goers with the right studio/fitness class, has today announced that it's dusting off its shuttered video product in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. With some tweaks.
ClassPass studio partners will today be able to offer live streamed classes on the platform. ClassPass has set up a system that allows these partners to set their own prices, date and time, and share a link to the streaming platform of their choice for their class, whether it be Instagram Live, Facebook Live, YouTube, Twitch, etc.
CEO Fritz Lanman said that the company, which has raised more than $500 million, is well capitalized to weather the metaphorical storm. However, ClassPass's success relies on the health of its 30,000 studio partners, 90 percent of whom have closed their physical locations indefinitely across 30 countries.
With the new offering, studios will be able to keep offering their classes to a market in which demand for live-streamed or at-home workouts is skyrocketing.
Moreover, ClassPass will not be generating any revenue from these live streamed classes until June 1. In other words, 100 percent of the revenue from these live streamed classes will go towards the studios and wellness partners.
ClassPass launched a live video streaming product in March of 2018. The product was a sizable investment from the company, which set up a full broadcasting studio in Brooklyn. ClassPass Live, as it was called, also required users to have a ClassPass Live subscription, which came with a heart rate monitor for users to track their progress.
ClassPass Live eventually shuttered as the company reorganized its priorities to focus on global expansion and its corporate program. However, thousands of workouts from that product (in both video and audio form) have remained on the app for subscribers as an on-demand workout from home option.
Those video and audio workouts are now available for free to anyone who is signed in to the ClassPass app. For the live streamed workouts from studio partners, ClassPass users will need to use their in-app credits to purchase those classes. That said, they do not have to be a subscriber — users can simply purchase credits a la carte in the app and use them towards classes.
Existing ClassPass users will notice that their credits have been rolled over since the coronavirus pandemic has been keeping folks at home.
So far, 500 studios have been onboarded to start providing live streamed workouts and classes.
Asked if this video business could become the permanent, primary business for the company, Lanman said that it's possible, but unlikely.
"Frankly, we already did this experiment," said Lanman. "When we did ClassPass Live, customers said this is incredible, high quality stuff. That it's a great experience. But you cannot yet replicate the real world experience digitally. The ambience. The immersiveness (sic). The sense of community."
He said that in the future, people will want some offline offerings across a variety of things.
"Our job as a platform company is not to take an overly prescriptive point of view as to what's best for each individual customer," said Lanman. "Our job is to give partners a choice around how they want to merchandize and curate different experiences across offline, video, audio, one to many, one to one, etc. And then, we need to allow customers to choose how they want to allocate their time and their budget between offline and digital."
Alongside the launch of ClassPass's live video workout product, the company is also introducing other initiatives to help the fitness industry during this pandemic.
The first is a Partner Relief Fund, which allows users to donate to their favorite studios right from within the app. Moreover, ClassPass will match all donations up to $1 million.
The company is also calling on governments across the globe, via a change.org petition, to offer immediate financial assistance, alongside rent, loan and tax relief, for fitness businesses in particular. Thus far, the petition has signatures from Joey Gonzalez (Barry's Bootcamp CEO), Andy Stenzler (Rumble CEO), Travis Frenzel (Flywheel Sports CEO) and more.