Zoom unveils data-driven programming for its big and growing health club network

April 7, 2011 by Dave Haynes

Zoom Media & Marketing sent an email blast around about its new “FlexCast” scheduling platform for the 3,500 or so health clubs where it is running programming.
Developed by Zoom’s ClubCom division, the platform is a mechanism that helps tailor programming to venues while also developing deep profiles about each of those venues.
Simply by having operators identify their entertainment preferences and product and service offerings, FlexCast dynamically renders digital programming that is completely customized to audience preferences and the business needs of operators.  FlexCast integrates control over sight, sound and motion (television) programming as well as digital signage.
I wasn’t quite getting it based on the material in the blast, so I asked, and ClubCom president and (I think) founder Tom Lapcevic kindly called to fill me in.
Health clubs are different by locale, chain, operator and membership profile, so one or a few types of programming playlists don’t come close to fine-tuning what’s on the screen to the audience. With this system, the managers of the clubs log in and profile all the user patterns and attributes of the venue and the people who use it. Based on that, Flexcast auto-generates playlists that are tailored to what the data is telling it, using what Lapcevic describes as a massive body of content the company generates internally.
The UI is a series of screens with checkboxes and drop-down windows that operators take a few minutes to fill in. They also have access to tools, through FlexCast, to do a long list of things to customize the experience. They can select from nearly 100 different music channels, and define channel playback based upon dayparting.  They can develop a marketing calendar and define start and stop dates for messages, select preferred digital editorial, member education, safety messages and tips, staff profiles and work off a template library.

Programming, and I thought this was interesting, breaks down to 26 minutes each of music videos and digital signage programming with zoned screens, and four two-minute breaks per hour for full-screen, full audio/video ad spots that they sell nationally like it’s TV.

For Zoom, FlexCast gets better programming on the air and happier operators. But they also get a pile of user-generated data about their venues and the viewing audiences for their ads.

Zoom has grown its health club digital network footprint by over 50% in the last two years, to over 3,000 venues. Lapcevic says more like 3,500 and 4,000 is on the near horizon.

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