Side Note

Indoor cycling is rebranding as a media industry

The cycling industry is hungry for streaming dollars. Peloton, a company that sells $2,000 spin bikes equipped with TVs, raised $550 million in a funding round last week, and its CEO John Foley told CNBC he hopes the growing brand will become a “media company akin to Netflix.”

Peloton, which is investing $45 million in a new production studio in Manhattan, already streams live exercise content for 24 hours a day through the TVs on its bikes. For $39 per month, users can get access to a collection of over 10,000 pre-recorded exercise videos.

Personal workout companies like Aaptiv and Fiit already offer a vast supply of cycling exercise content, but this segment of the fitness industry is trying to pitch itself as part of the media landscape now more than ever. In recent months, both companies have dubbed themselves the “Netflix of fitness.” Not to be topped, last month SoulCycle created a talent agency designed to promote “fitness influencers,” or amateur fitness cyclers turned internet celebrities. Basically, SoulCycle wants to give its star instructors sponsorship and TV deals.

The rise of the cycling media brand has already reached reality TV. This year, fitness influencer Caleb “The Fitness Marshall” Marshall channelled his 1.3-million-person following into a TV show about himself — Life Of A Fitness Pop Star, in which “these small town dreamers” (meaning he and his boyfriend) “go head-to-head with the fast-paced, cutthroat lifestyle of Hollywood.”