April 8, 2020
In mid-March, WW International (Weight Watchers), decided to close its 3,000 physical locations but didn't want to leave members to fend for themselves in these trying times.
WW president and CEO Mindy Grossman said in an interview with USA TODAY that in a matter of days, the company took its 30,000 weekly workshops virtual and grew its members-only social network. About a quarter of the company's 5 million members worldwide are signed up for in-person workshops and digital tools.
A new theme to the workshops – COVID-19 coping strategies. One week, the focus was on creating a routine, another week about stocking up on food, and another week was handling stress. Those looking for additional support can attend meetings in other parts of the country.
WW uses the popular videoconferencing software Zoom to hold its meetings. The software's usage soared from 10 million in December to 200 million in March.
WW members find their local workshop in the WW app, which has audio workouts and meditations, through the Connect social media network. Local groups were added to the app as part of the company's COVID-19 response.
WW officials hasn't commented on membership numbers or whether the company has gained or lost members but said there hasn't been a change in the prices. Members who attend workshops and get digital access pay $44.95 a month, and digital-only members pay $20.95. Members who choose personal coaching pay $54.95 a month. There are offers for new members signing up. Tuesday, the WW website promoted a 55% off discount, valid through April 13.
Oppenheimer stock analyst Brian Nagel, who tracks Weight Watchers, said in a note March 30 that he’s “increasingly optimistic that a now improved consumer message could resonate even better with ... new members, particularly amid broader market uncertainty.”
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