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CBS Interactive Advanced Media bulks up its vertical subscription strategy with TrainerPass

June 7, 2016 | By Michelle Manafy, Editorial Director – DCN @michellemanafy

CBS Interactive Advanced Media has tapped into a market ripe for reinvention: the home video fitness industry–though “home” might be a misnomer given the fact that mobile increasingly dominates video and consumption. CBSi Advanced Media just debuted TrainerPass, which features hundreds of workouts from fitness pros, which is offering via website access and on iOS and Android Apps.

“It’s an interesting time for fitness,” says David Katz, Vice President and General Manager of CBS Interactive Advanced Media. “Home fitness was dominated by a huge DVD market for a time, but that’s fading away and nothing has replaced it.” Though there have certainly been web-based forays into this market, Katz feels confident that TrainerPass is the first to aggregate such a large variety of trainers’ content in one place.

According to Katz, cross-platform delivery was a given because of the way mobile has effected users’ behaviors and expectations of anytime anywhere content access. He points out that users won’t just want to access content from home or hotel room — certain types of technique-oriented content, for example, may prompt them to review a short video at the gym or before heading out on a bike ride.

Another distinctive aspect of TrainerPass is that it highlights interaction. Features include direct messaging that trainers can use to react quickly and respond to user needs and requests. While not every trainer who has signed on will feel that audience interaction is essential to their content offering, Katz looks forward to seeing how the opportunity to connect with audiences impacts different trainers’ engagement level and popularity. “It’s quite possible that one who hustles and listens and hears their fans and delivers what they want may even be more successful than better known trainers who aren’t as engaged.”

And while CBSi Advanced Media is enthusiastic about any trainer bringing their own audience to the platform, Katz is confident that, given his company’s reach as the eighth most trafficked brand online, they will be able to deliver significant audiences to all those participating. He notes that creating an offering like this one under the larger CBS umbrella has the added advantage of allowing him to “leverage all of the great technology, learning and experience that happens within this company all of the time across our disparate sites and services from CNET to CBS’ College Sports Live to CBS All Access.”

myworkoutsOne key component of this is in helping to develop a business model around a specific content vertical. TrainerPass offers two types of memberships so subscribers can sample a variety of workouts across disciplines or dive deeper into the complete workout libraries of individual trainers. The FlexPass subscription ($4.99 per month) features access to more than 100 videos from multiple celebrity trainers and workout programs, including yoga, Pilates, kickboxing, boot camp and barre, allowing users to discover the program that fits them best. The Trainer’s Pass subscription (starting at $6.99 per month) offers complete access to a specific trainer’s workout library, as well as nutrition tips and more.

TrainerPass, which is built on CBS Interactive Advanced Media’s suite of digital product offerings, gives trainers the flexibility to manage their content and subscription pricing and interact with their followers through videos, blog posts, and social media integration. Trainers can continuously add new content to their libraries to help followers keep their workout routines fresh—all with the support of CBSi’s customer services team.

Katz foresees the TrainerPass model being emulated for a variety of different verticals. Next up:  identifying areas that “may or may not have an existing audience, whose business model has been disrupted or in which there’s not yet a fully-developed digital business model” and then leveraging the technological and publishing acumen at CBSi to create new interest-based offerings that meet the needs of consumers and foster the growth of the digital content marketplace.

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