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HCM People: Jean-Michel Fournier

CEO, Les Mills Media

In the long term, the fitness industry will utilise technological advances in augmented reality and holographic telepresence

Published in Health Club Management 2019 issue 11

What’s your story?
I dropped out of school aged 16 to become an electrician in a small village in the south of France, where I grew up. Not long after, I met a business leader who gave me a different perspective about the endless possibilities of life and the confidence that I could do more.

I went back to school, on to university and began my career during the tech boom, working at some of the world’s largest tech companies. Along the way, I’ve been fortunate enough to live and work in multiple countries.

I’ve always enjoyed having a rich blend of experiences and my whole journey has been about learning more, developing multiple skills and growing as a leader. Before joining Les Mills in 2017, I had Senior VP roles at large corporations such as United Health Group and Hewlett-Packard. I also co-founded several start-ups in Silicon Valley and am a strategic adviser for the French government, supporting the development of French start-ups abroad.

What does your role entail?
Most HCM readers are probably familiar with the Les Mills brand, but maybe less so with Les Mills Media – which is a division of Les Mills International. As CEO of Les Mills Media, I head our worldwide consumer business, the B2B and direct-to-consumer digital portfolio of products, as well as our worldwide music management.

One of my main focuses is our video streaming platform, Les Mills On Demand (LMOD), which lets consumers stream 800 workouts to any digital device. LMOD has seen significant growth in recent years and we’re expecting this category to have a huge impact on the future of fitness.

Why is this?
The two largest generations of fitness users, millennials and Gen Z, are the “anywhere and everywhere” generations, and they now make up 80 per cent of the entire fitness market.

This generation of ‘digital natives’ have grown up with technology seamlessly integrated into their day-to-day lives, so they’re evolving their needs and expectations for their fitness experiences.

In addition, the trend for fitness-at-home continues to grow and we know 85 per cent of club members also exercise at home, so our sector must evolve to meet these growing expectations for integrated fitness solutions.

How do you see this taking shape in the fitness industry?
With digital disruption and technology affecting every industry – especially fitness – we want to offer our club partners and their members a 360-degree fitness solution that seamlessly blends the physical and the digital.

We call it the “consumerisation of clubs”. It means virtually expanding the four walls of the traditional fitness facility and enabling members to exercise where and when they want.

How can clubs stay central to the fitness journey?
Clubs are the heartbeat of our industry, so we’re innovating to ensure they maintain a central role in the digital fitness experience.

That’s why we’ve partnered with Netpulse, so clubs can own their members’ fitness journey wherever and whenever they want to workout.

Clubs are able to offer members a co-branded LMOD subscription at a preferential rate, boosting member loyalty and keeping them in the habit of exercising even if they can’t make it to the gym.

With so many alternative ways to exercise, what does the future look like for live classes?
Because we’re social beings, the in-person experience will always be best. Live classes create retention, referrals and boost perception of value, but these can be augmented by technology to expand the club experience.

In the long term, the fitness industry will utilise advances in augmented reality and holographic telepresence, but science is a few years away from making this a reality for live classes.

In the near term, we can create more experiential live classes by combining great instructors with music and augmented video to create immersive virtual environments. Those who bridge the gap between the digital and physical world to offer an integrated fitness experience will be the big winners.

Looking further ahead, I believe Artificial Intelligence (AI) will be transformative for fitness. People want experiential workouts, personalisation, and smart recommendations to support their lifestyle, so AI will play a key role.

What most excites you about the impact of tech on fitness?
Our mission is to create a fitter planet, and the technologies we’ve talked about will have a key role in democratising fitness and taking it to the masses.

Gallery
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Les Mills Showcase

Bannatyne has driven member engagement with Les Mills during the lockdown

Unique challenge

Ken Hughes, expert in consumer culture and human behaviour spoke as part of the Technogym Talks series of webinars about how operators can navigate the new consumer landscape

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As gyms reopen, restrictions on numbers are demanding more of their software. HCM asks the experts how their systems can enable gyms to cope with post lockdown requirements

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With the spread of COVID-19 forcing more people into isolation, PureGym worked with FunXtion to rapidly include a digital on-demand workout offering to support members at home

Soft power

With the coronavirus pandemic forcing gyms across the world to temporarily close their doors, staying connected to your members digitally has never been more important. Software suppliers tell Steph Eaves how they’re contributing

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Wattbike has partnered with Intelligent Cycling to transform indoor cycling with innovative new technology that enables automatic personalisation for riders in a group cycling class

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If the glucose levels are high, the tattoo turns green; if they’re too low it turns yellow
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Lauren Foundos, FORTË

We give data reports showing the most popular instructors, so they can get credit for driving users
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Tesqua upgrades its in-club experience

Tesqua Health and Sports Centre, Netherlands, has partnered with FunXtion, experts in digital fitness, to create an immersive, instructor-driven, group exercise boutique concept within its existing facility

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A new, smart exercise mask will analyse breath for a wide range of performance-related indicators, as Tom Walker explains

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Sexual wellness enters the mainstream with the launch of new Lover app
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Like gaming, it’s very addictive, but this time in a good way. Imagine shooting space invaders on a squash court or kicking a soccer ball to kill some monsters
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John Foley

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This year, we’ll launch state-of-the-art studios in London’s Covent Garden and in NYC
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Motosumo

Kresten Juel Jensen, CEO and co-founder and Nick Coutts, incoming chair
Everyone’s on their smartphones, so we saw this as a massive opportunity to gamify group fitness

Class action

Jean-Michel Fournier, CEO of digital fitness outfit Les Mills on Demand, envisions the future of group fitness tech

Get connected

Sony and Precor are collaborating. Henrik Bengtsson, head of business at Advagym, tells Wendy Golledge about Sony’s latest foray into fitness
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Christopher Ruddock, INCUS

The NOVA is the first triathlon wearable worn on the upper spine. This allows unique measurement of the left and right sides and unlocks new understanding of body balance

Sight & sound

The audio visual aspect of your club is one of the biggest factors in keeping members motivated and engaged with your offering. So how can you optimise this? We asked four of the top audio visual suppliers in the industry for their tips

Artificial intelligence

When you hear the words ‘artificial intelligence’, do you think of talking computers and helpful androids? Think again. We find out how AI can be used in fitness
Featured supplier: EGYM presents Corona Gym Solution, for the successful re-opening of fitness studios
Finally, the time has come: fitness and health facilities around the globe are gradually resuming operations.
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Featured supplier: EGYM presents Corona Gym Solution, for the successful re-opening of fitness studios
Finally, the time has come: fitness and health facilities around the globe are gradually resuming operations.
Featured supplier: myFitApp launches branded live-streaming as part of its COVID-19 support package
Innovatise, the company behind myFitApp, has announced the immediate availability of its customer- branded live-streaming solution.
Company profile: Stages Indoor Cycling
Stages Indoor Cycling is a product and technology company that is 100% focused on creating ...
Company profile: FunXtion International BV
Unlock your club’s digital potential with the FunXtion Platform. Deliver engaging and immersive digital fitness ...
Technogym mywellness app
Technogym
Improve your training experience. All your data in a single app. Read more
Get Fit Tech
Sign up for the free digital edition of Fit Tech magazine and the free weekly Fit Tech ezine
Sign up
Locking solutions
Monster Padlocks: Locking solutions
Direct debit solutions
Harlands Group: Direct debit solutions
Fitness equipment
Technogym: Fitness equipment
Spa software
ResortSuite: Spa software
Wearable technology solutions
MyZone: Wearable technology solutions
03-05 Aug 2020
Raffles City Convention Centre, Singapore
30 Sep 2020
Exhibition Centre Cologne, Cologne, Germany
01-04 Oct 2020
Exhibition Centre, Cologne, Germany
07 Oct 2020
Palais Brongniart, Paris, France

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features

HCM People: Jean-Michel Fournier

CEO, Les Mills Media

In the long term, the fitness industry will utilise technological advances in augmented reality and holographic telepresence

Published in Health Club Management 2019 issue 11

What’s your story?
I dropped out of school aged 16 to become an electrician in a small village in the south of France, where I grew up. Not long after, I met a business leader who gave me a different perspective about the endless possibilities of life and the confidence that I could do more.

I went back to school, on to university and began my career during the tech boom, working at some of the world’s largest tech companies. Along the way, I’ve been fortunate enough to live and work in multiple countries.

I’ve always enjoyed having a rich blend of experiences and my whole journey has been about learning more, developing multiple skills and growing as a leader. Before joining Les Mills in 2017, I had Senior VP roles at large corporations such as United Health Group and Hewlett-Packard. I also co-founded several start-ups in Silicon Valley and am a strategic adviser for the French government, supporting the development of French start-ups abroad.

What does your role entail?
Most HCM readers are probably familiar with the Les Mills brand, but maybe less so with Les Mills Media – which is a division of Les Mills International. As CEO of Les Mills Media, I head our worldwide consumer business, the B2B and direct-to-consumer digital portfolio of products, as well as our worldwide music management.

One of my main focuses is our video streaming platform, Les Mills On Demand (LMOD), which lets consumers stream 800 workouts to any digital device. LMOD has seen significant growth in recent years and we’re expecting this category to have a huge impact on the future of fitness.

Why is this?
The two largest generations of fitness users, millennials and Gen Z, are the “anywhere and everywhere” generations, and they now make up 80 per cent of the entire fitness market.

This generation of ‘digital natives’ have grown up with technology seamlessly integrated into their day-to-day lives, so they’re evolving their needs and expectations for their fitness experiences.

In addition, the trend for fitness-at-home continues to grow and we know 85 per cent of club members also exercise at home, so our sector must evolve to meet these growing expectations for integrated fitness solutions.

How do you see this taking shape in the fitness industry?
With digital disruption and technology affecting every industry – especially fitness – we want to offer our club partners and their members a 360-degree fitness solution that seamlessly blends the physical and the digital.

We call it the “consumerisation of clubs”. It means virtually expanding the four walls of the traditional fitness facility and enabling members to exercise where and when they want.

How can clubs stay central to the fitness journey?
Clubs are the heartbeat of our industry, so we’re innovating to ensure they maintain a central role in the digital fitness experience.

That’s why we’ve partnered with Netpulse, so clubs can own their members’ fitness journey wherever and whenever they want to workout.

Clubs are able to offer members a co-branded LMOD subscription at a preferential rate, boosting member loyalty and keeping them in the habit of exercising even if they can’t make it to the gym.

With so many alternative ways to exercise, what does the future look like for live classes?
Because we’re social beings, the in-person experience will always be best. Live classes create retention, referrals and boost perception of value, but these can be augmented by technology to expand the club experience.

In the long term, the fitness industry will utilise advances in augmented reality and holographic telepresence, but science is a few years away from making this a reality for live classes.

In the near term, we can create more experiential live classes by combining great instructors with music and augmented video to create immersive virtual environments. Those who bridge the gap between the digital and physical world to offer an integrated fitness experience will be the big winners.

Looking further ahead, I believe Artificial Intelligence (AI) will be transformative for fitness. People want experiential workouts, personalisation, and smart recommendations to support their lifestyle, so AI will play a key role.

What most excites you about the impact of tech on fitness?
Our mission is to create a fitter planet, and the technologies we’ve talked about will have a key role in democratising fitness and taking it to the masses.

Gallery
More features

Les Mills Showcase

Bannatyne has driven member engagement with Les Mills during the lockdown

Unique challenge

Ken Hughes, expert in consumer culture and human behaviour spoke as part of the Technogym Talks series of webinars about how operators can navigate the new consumer landscape

Super soft

As gyms reopen, restrictions on numbers are demanding more of their software. HCM asks the experts how their systems can enable gyms to cope with post lockdown requirements

PureGym scales up Funxtion’s digital integration

With the spread of COVID-19 forcing more people into isolation, PureGym worked with FunXtion to rapidly include a digital on-demand workout offering to support members at home

Soft power

With the coronavirus pandemic forcing gyms across the world to temporarily close their doors, staying connected to your members digitally has never been more important. Software suppliers tell Steph Eaves how they’re contributing

Wattbike partner on world-first group cycling software

Wattbike has partnered with Intelligent Cycling to transform indoor cycling with innovative new technology that enables automatic personalisation for riders in a group cycling class

Pivot to digital

The coronavirus pandemic has inspired a huge pivot to digital right across the industry, from sole traders to large chains and trusts. Kath Hudson looks at some of the offerings pulled together in lightning fast time to keep members active and sane
interview

Krissy Cela

So many people miss out on fitness because they feel too intimidated to go to the gym
interview

Toni Knowlson, Amazon Web Services

These insights give fans access to the inner workings of their favourite teams
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Ali Yetisen

Lead researcher, Technical University Munich
The tattoos use a dye that changes colour according to changes in levels of three elements found in the blood
interview

Lauren Foundos, FORTË

We give data reports showing the most popular instructors, so they can get credit for driving users
interview

Changing the game

Real-time feedback must become the new normal as tech evolves
Hedgehog Concept Ltd
Hedgehog Concept Ltd