HCM People
Jean-Michel Fournier

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


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.

Les Mills On Demand has seen significant growth in recent years due to young, ‘digital natives’ making up the majority of the fitness market
Home exercise via LMOD complements in-club classes and workouts
AI will play a key role in the future of the industry, says Fournier
 


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SELECTED ISSUE
Health Club Management
2019 issue 11

View issue contents

Leisure Management - Jean-Michel Fournier

HCM People

Jean-Michel Fournier


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

Jean-Michel Fournier
Les Mills On Demand has seen significant growth in recent years due to young, ‘digital natives’ making up the majority of the fitness market
Home exercise via LMOD complements in-club classes and workouts
AI will play a key role in the future of the industry, says Fournier

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.


Originally published in Health Club Management 2019 issue 11

Published by The Leisure Media Company Ltd Portmill House, Portmill Lane, Hitchin, Herts SG5 1DJ. Tel: +44 (0)1462 431385 | Contact us | About us | © Cybertrek Ltd