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« How Much "Innovation" Is REALLY Going On ? | Main | An Important 2012 Trend | Point, Know & Buy »

Facebook's $1 Billion Acquisition Of Instagram - How Does Fitness Relate ?

I know, I know...I can almost read the minds of some of the folks who will read this article. "Gee Bryan, give it up already with this creative disruption stuff....Picture taking has nothing to do with the health club or fitness industry. Enough !" OK, I'll try not to beat the "dead horse" of disruption too hard again, be it with examples of Best Buy, Sears, or Borders Books . In this case, however, I could not help but serve up the interesting tale of Kodak and Instagram in light of Facebook's announcement that they'll acquire the Instagram business for $1 billion dollars. I thought an article by Lance Ulanoff titled, "Does Instagram Owe Kodak A Billion Dollar Thanks?", included some pretty remarkable insights that can apply to the health club and fitness space today. Here's a slice of Mr. Ulanoff's observations:

As Kodak works its way out of Chapter 11, it’s obvious that the company held onto traditional photography as the centerpiece of its business for, perhaps, a little too long. Yes, it was one of the first to introduce a digital camera, but Kodak and its customers seemed to believe traditional film photography would never die. Too bad Kodak couldn’t have seen as far ahead as Eastman once was. Maybe it could’ve come up with the idea of Instagram and today Facebook would be buying it, instead.

So what does the Instagram - Facebook deal mean to the Health Club and Fitness Business ? It means that times are really changing and fast. With Kodak in bankruptcy and the Instagram founders looking towards a billion dollar payday the future is clearly digital, mobile and innovative. No matter the industry, if you aren't accepting these dynamics as fact, you're going to clearly miss the boat. Many traditional fitness, wellness and health club business models aren't keeping up. Some people might think that like Kodak, they are failing to see the future.

So tell me Bryan O'Rourke, do you think the Instagram - Facebook deal has any lesson to teach the health club and fitness industry ? I'd love your opinion.

About the author:

Bryan O’Rourke is a health club industry expert, technologist, financier, and shareholder and executive in several fitness companies. He consults with global brands, serves as a member of the GGFA Think Tank is Chair of the Medical Fitness Association’s Education Committee, is President of the Fitness Industry Technology Council and a partner in Fitmarc, Integerus, Fitsomo and the Flywheel Group. To learn more contact Bryan here today .


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Reader Comments (1)

I saw this deal announced yesterday and knew it was huge. I love the fact that you are relating it to our industry. What I see is a lot of similarities to how the low-cost gym sector is effecting or will effect the mid-level to premium clubs. Kodak held on to traditional methods far too long - putting their head in the sand with no real response to how quickly things were changing, ultimately leading to their demise. Instagram offers something very different than Facebook. In fact, I think a lot of its appeal has to do with the option to keep photos separate from Facebook. But, Facebook sees Instagram as a another arm of their business - they plan to open the market and provide Instagram to as many people as possible while developing it independently. We are seeing this in our industry - a lot of club owners are seeing the low-cost gym sector as another arm to their business - a viable option. Some are developing their own low-cost brand while others are using franchises. But I fear that many will cling to traditional means/methods, not understanding the shift and changing consumer - which in some cases, may prove Kodak.

That is my humble opinion as to how this deal relates to our industry.

April 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJosh Donovan

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