British Broadcaster Sky Enters AI Fitness

mvmnt

Sky has just levelled up at-home workouts.

What’s happening: British telecommunications giant Sky partnered with audio-guided fitness startup WithU to launch a fitness app called Mvmnt. Using its AI-powered smart camera, Sky Live, and paired with its streaming smart TV, Sky Glass, the interactive training platform will count reps, record personal bests and provide instant form-correction cues for customers across UK and Ireland.

Why it matters: Sky has drawn on WithU to develop hundreds of workouts across multiple modalities, positioning itself as a leading digital fitness contender and creating an unlikely new rivalry with the likes of Peloton, Fiit, and Apple’s Fitness+.

Reaching 30% of UK households, Sky is creating more incentive to opt into its smart TV technology by bringing WithU along for the ride. Now available for Sky Live customers in and around the UK, the broadcaster will target rollouts in Italy and South Africa next.

WithU’s co-founder and CMO Kaleigh-Jane Scott, for one, believes it’s the right product at the right time.

“At WithU, we recognise the transformative power of movement, and our partnership with Sky allows us to amplify that impact. By leveraging AI technology and deeply understanding our customers’ fitness needs, we are at the forefront of a new era in at-home fitness.”

Content Is King?

The incoming era of at-home fitness is tracking towards AI-powered training tools, gamification and hyper-personalised workouts. But integrating computer vision technology isn’t a guarantee of success.

Once a sought-after form factor, smart fitness mirrors are backtracking, with lululemon pivoting away from MIRROR, China’s Fiture pulling out of the US, and Germany’s VAHA sold to UK nutrition subscription startup bioniq late last year.

As such, digital fitness brands are shrinking offerings and taking new avenues for greater uptake.

  • Dutch fitness mirror maker FITTAR launched motion-tracking Smart Box to gamify at-home training.
  • UK startup Quell raised £10M for its fitness gaming console that converts your body into a controller.
  • In the US, Tempo is integrating biometric data from wearables and body scans with a 3D camera for workout optimisation.

Elsewhere, while Peloton seeks to distance itself from hardware (including its Guide movement-tracking camera), it’s still struggling to gain and retain app users.

With consumers realising a good workout can be had from any smart device, hybrid operators have partnered up to get their offering on the original screen: TV.

  • In addition to investing in women-focused fitness platform obé, Samsung now offers Les Mills classes as a free app on its newer smart TVs.
  • Xponential Fitness inked a deal to put its streaming service XPLUS on all LG smart TVs.
  • Earlier this year, Netflix partnered with Nike Training Club to host serialised workouts.

Big picture: Sky’s financial footing has been rocky this past year, just as exercising at home has fallen 4% YoY. But by layering WithU’s respected programming, the rise of AI trainers, and its broad distribution potential, the telecoms giant is in a decent position to compete in all new territory.