By Elizabeth Hyde, Loughborough University London
We spoke to Taco Ketelaar from FitChannel.com one of the Netherlands fastest growing home sports and lifestyle platforms, aiming to get everyone in the Netherlands to participate in exercise. A past speaker at the 2018 Sports Analytics World Series Conference in the Netherlands Taco discusses the inspiration, development and future goals of FitChannel.com.
FitChannel is an online outreach platform for personal health and fitness. Each user gets a unique set of training exercises based on an algorithm of their profile, including over 800 high quality video training fitness courses, nutrition advice and video cooking lessons from internationally renowned chefs. The training courses are delivered by world class Olympic champions, TV stars and personal trainers to the famous.
What inspired the creation and development FitChannel?
‘Mostly a move to get more people healthy and active. A huge barrier for people to go to a gym or a fitness club is the distance, research shows if your further than one mile away from your home people won’t attend regularly if at all. Secondly, the timing of doing the training; you can do it at any time you like at home or elsewhere therefore the barriers to do it are substantially lower.’
I’ve heard the team behind FitChannel are diverse can you describe a little about the team behind the product?
One of the most important things is the people, as a team we have a large content, television and media background with over 20 years’ experience in large content production companies such as Endemol Shine, Sony and Warner Brothers. Content is our DNA, we truly value the high quality of the content. Supporting this we have experts in the arenas of nutrition and professional training courses, World Champions and Olympic gold medallists’.
FitChannel has a great selection of different exercises, what made you choose the exercises for your workout videos?
‘Our streams are based on research into consumer trends. Firstly, to get fit is one of the biggest consumer needs worldwide, secondly, to build muscle, whilst yoga and boxing are popular and largely growing areas. We chose the areas with a big appetite and a mass market’.
Why were weekly nutrition videos added into the platform as of day 1?
‘We think that nutrition is just as important; there are a lot of people that aren’t really that keen on cooking or don’t have any experience but understand the need for healthy diets. Therefore, solely provide a recipe is not enough, our cooking lessons are convenient and show you step by step how it’s done’.
Great to see the launch of FitChannel with MTV this year, What’s next for FitChannel?
‘We are currently working on our training course offering and international expansion. On our roadmap we plan by 2019/2020 to have launched in other territories with localised content, due to the fact we already have quite a lot of interest from abroad. Our aim was to successfully launch in the Netherlands first due to its applicability in international media’.
Have you thought about linking FitChannel with other innovative sports technology brands?
‘Ensuring a quality core product is key, ensuring excellent training courses, nutrition and recipes, we will look to enhance this with wearables and other companies within that arena in the future and already have a coloration with a wearables company’.
At the Sports Analytics World Series, we heard about the City Fit Challenge, what is it and how does it work?
‘This is something we thought about in line with our company aims, to get as many people as healthy as possible. We proposed to all the major and small cities in the Netherlands to allow all the inhabitants of each city a 30-day free trial to the platform, linking with the cities to promote some form of exercise to every individual by joining with local clubs and tracking activity’.
You’re going to be collecting a lot of data about the platforms users, how will this guide future decisions?
‘We can measure activity of our users and we use that in order to improve the offering. If you see exercises are popular or unpopular you can ask users why. If they are less motivated, we can learn from that and as a result we are constantly improving our offering’.
What do you think the biggest challenge will be for home sports over the coming years?
‘If the goal is to get everyone in the world to exercise, then the challenge would be to ensure a wide enough offering to facilitate all consumers, in every target group’.
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