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At the Homecoming event, Peloton teases a new rower

The annual Peloton Homecoming event is for the fans. It’s where the fitness tech firm teases new products and introduces new features and content. It’s also an opportunity for fans to attend special panel discussions and take live seminars given by their favorite professors. This year’s major tease is that Peloton has officially confirmed the arrival of a linked rower.

Peloton’s announcement serves as both a teaser and an official confirmation. We don’t know the specifications or when it’ll be released; all we know is that it’ll be “coming soon.” The rower’s design appears to be similar to that of the Peloton Tread — sleek, with a basic profile and a display for watching lessons. The rower has been the subject of rumors since 2018 when Bloomberg reported that Peloton planned to launch it in 2020. But unfortunately, 2020 came and went, and there was no rower in sight.

I spoke with Tom Cortese, Peloton’s co-founder and chief product officer, about the choice and Peloton’s other Homecoming announcements ahead of the Homecoming announcement.

“We’re entering the rowing category, which has been long awaited and feels like the world’s worst-kept secret, so let’s just talk about it,” Cortese said through Zoom.

Treadmills and bikes are ideal for an at-home gym. Because running and cycling are popular activities, several fitness equipment manufacturers cater to them. Rowing, on the other hand, has a more specialized following. Part of this is due to the amount of space it takes up in your home and that most people do not grow up rowing. You know how to run naturally, and learning to ride a bike is a common childhood memory. Rowing has a specific form that you wouldn’t know unless someone taught you. Rowers have been accessible in gyms for decades, but the sport they are based on has a reputation for being exclusive and exclusive.

Indoor rowing has grown in popularity in recent years, mainly in boutique and networked fitness courses. For example, Hydrow earned a name as the “Peloton of rowers,” and many services similar to Hydrow are available right now. For instance, fitness Plus now includes rowing as a category. Another trendy boutique workout studio that emphasizes rowing is OrangeTheory.

Peloton hopes to de-mystify rowing by leveraging its technology, a roster of well-known instructors, and hardware design principles. It also aligns with another Peloton endeavor to broaden the company’s strength training options. The Peloton will gradually improve its strength training content, according to Cortese. At Homecoming, the business unveiled a new four-week program concentrating on arms and shoulders, hosted by trainer Tunde Oyeneyin, available first as a Peloton Guide exclusive. Peloton’s first effort into strength training hardware, the Guide, is a camera-based system that lets you examine your form on a TV while following your instructors. The rower, a combination of cardio and strength, will be second.

This is consistent with Peloton’s overarching strategy over the years. Sticking to a game plan, on the other hand, is unlikely to appease antsy investors fixated on Peloton’s stock price, especially given the hardware is frequently scrutinized by analysts.

The corporation reported larger-than-expected losses for its third quarter results earlier this week. During the call, new CEO Barry McCarthy told analysts from major banks that while Peloton was strong in hardware, “being strong is not nearly enough.” While McCarthy is still new to the job, he has been clear about subscriptions being at the forefront of his approach since taking over. Jill Woodworth, Chief Financial Officer, indicated that the company’s overstocked inventory was losing money. Peloton, on the other hand, is releasing new hardware yet again.

Cortese said Peloton “has always been and will always be a subscription business” when asked how the rower fits into the company’s new software-first strategy. That involves providing an ever-expanding collection of material and features to keep fans pleased. The goal is to entice users into the Peloton community and ensure they never want to leave.

So far, the organization has done a fantastic job at it. The company’s monthly churn rate — the percentage of Peloton users who quit their membership — remains under 1% the quarter after quarter. Despite an uptick in subscription cancellations following news of a price hike, the churn rate improved to 0.75 percent in the most recent quarter. The question now is whether or not this will alter.

Cortese explains, “Our business incentive is to keep you as a subscriber forever.” “We believe there is so much we can do daily and weekly to continue to change and evolve the bike, tread, and now rowing experiences,” says the company.

That explains how several of the new features announced at Homecoming were developed. For example, Cortese claims that the firm has noticed an increase in consumers taking yoga courses, and lo and behold, Peloton has announced the addition of the second volume in its Yoga series, “The Approach.” In addition, Peloton previously released its Power Zone Training Program to appeal to serious bike users. As a result, a new eight-week program called “Peak Your Power Zones” will also be offered at Homecoming.

At the Homecoming event, Peloton teases a new rower

Peloton also makes it simpler for existing users to communicate with one another. With the new “Invite Friends” feature, members can now arrange workouts directly from the Bike. It’s also introducing a “Just exercise” function, which allows users to track any uninstructed activity using the Peloton app. Meanwhile, TalkBack, an accessibility function for blind and low-vision users, is added to the Tread. The functionality guides these users through Tread’s user interface.
Given that many studies have indicated that current workout equipment and fitness facilities severely underserve this group, it’s a smart approach. Treadmills should feature tactile surfaces, braille labels for controls, and speech output, according to the American Foundation for the Blind. While Peloton could do even more in the future to follow these rules, this is at least a start. It also makes Peloton a more appealing alternative for those towns, and it challenges Peloton’s legion of copycats to do the same.

But arguably, the most exciting news for Peloton fans is that the firm is reopening its Peloton Studios. The Studios is where Peloton films and transmits its programming. It was also where many Peloton fans visiting New York City would stop by to see their favorite instructors before the outbreak. The Studio’s initial location was on 23rd Street, but it has since been relocated to a gleaming new facility near Hudson Yards. The new Studio has never been open to the public because of the pandemic. However, there is no information about the timetable.

These announcements are aimed at attracting new users, keeping them engaged in the Peloton platform, and reducing the number of reasons for them to leave. I’d say they’re pretty effective if you’re a Peloton lover. On the other hand, Peloton has never had a problem with loyalty. The issue is the disparity between a company’s stock price and its industry-leading product.

When asked about the negative press and constant speculation over Peloton’s future, Cortese remained unconcerned.

“It’s just a blip.” It’s a split second in time. I’m willing to do this for another ten years as long as we keep focused on what we do well and continue to deliver genuine value into an area where there is a genuine need by a real consumer.”

Yes, if Peloton stays around for a long time. This is merely a blip, similar to Apple’s “lost years.” If the company’s reorganization strategy succeeds, it will be able to go forward, though it is unlikely to return to its peak epidemic valuation anytime soon. On the results, Peloton’s executive team stated that its restructuring plans will continue through 2023 and possibly 2024. Peloton can keep rowing as long as the fans stick with them through the ups and downs.

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