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How Fitness First bridged the gap between their in-person fitness classes & digital video during lockdown

The Challenge

When the UK went into its first lockdown during the pandemic, like much of the world, Fitness First had to quickly speed up its digital marketing strategy. Operating since 1993, Fitness First built much of the gym industry in the UK, and today they’re using innovative tech solutions to further grow the industry. With nearly 50 fitness clubs located across England (most in London), Fitness First started using JW Player this year for their digital fitness video strategy. Their marketing strategy uses an online video showcase, in-app WebView, on-demand workout videos, a robust newsletter, and live workouts to reach thousands of new & returning viewers each week.

With a wealth of knowledge about the UK’s fitness industry—including class instruction, equipment, customized workouts, and personal training—Fitness First needed a quick solution to get their existing fitness content online. Getting their brick-and-mortar teams to be able to work online required technical know-how and a straightforward solution anyone could understand.

We had dipped our toes with video before, using YouTube and Instagram. The vision is that our player solution beds into everything that we do moving forward, to deliver more value for our members and help them make the best of our fantastic gym floors. The lockdown massively accelerated our plans and gave us the time to invest in our content and a solution to deliver a really great experience.

Anne-Laure Kujawski, Fitness First Marketing Director

The Solution

With lockdown restrictions shutting down their physical fitness centers, Fitness First created an online video strategy to offer fitness courses not just for their members, but anyone. On a mission to lift people’s spirits and provide support for everyone’s fitness journey, Fitness First launched free fitness classes via their FitX player, powered by JW Player’s Showcase Videos are available on the web and through the DW Fitness First Core mobile app via WebView.

To differentiate with other online fitness brands, Fitness First utilizes its extensive knowledge of the industry through a regular video newsletter and a free content library accessible to anyone, including non-members. Making their content accessible provides them the opportunity to reach more potential customers and opens up a strategy for expansion in the future.

[JW Player has] been pretty straightforward; it’s quite a simple and efficient ready-to-go tool which is really important. We’re not technical on that front. We’re marketers effectively, so it’s really good that anyone can use the player, create playlists, use pre-existing content...and the tagging element makes it really easy. A smooth onboarding process!

Anne-Laure Kujawski, Fitness First Marketing Director

The Result


on-demand classes


hours live streams/month


daily plays VOD

With the help of a dedicated support and account team, Fitness First was able to transform their content strategy quickly. Using existing and new fitness training videos, Fitness First is on a path to build an entire fitness ecosystem for their members and the community at large, bridging the gap between their physical, in-person fitness centers and a new digital marketing strategy utilizing video & live streaming.

We chose JW Player because of the support level that we get and the ‘sturdiness’ of the technological solution. An important element for us is account management. We decided not to go with Vimeo where if anything goes wrong, you’re kind of on your own. We want to feel supported, challenged, pushed to maximizing the use for our video solution.

Anne-Laure Kujawski, Fitness First Marketing Director

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Who is JW Player?

JW Player is the most powerful and flexible video platform powered by the fastest, most-used HTML5 online video player. We combine world-class software with unique data insights to help digital businesses deliver amazing video experiences, grow audiences, and maximize revenue. JW Player pioneered video on the web over a decade ago and continues to innovate as the world’s largest network-independent platform for video delivery and intelligence.

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