Davis launched his virtual gym website in January this year. And his start-up. VirtualGym.tv, already features over 1,200 exercise videos, from boxercise to pilates, starring some 25 of the UK’s top fitness instructors, whose clients include Gordon Ramsay and Robbie Williams. Subscribers pay a maximum of £15 per month (there’s no joining or cancellation fees) for unlimited access to the site. All the videos are DRM* –free, so users with limited floor space opposite their PCs can either burn their favourites to DVD, or stream them direct to their TV. It’s completely flexible, and a whole lot cheaper than forking out for traditional gym membership. “Subscribers get their own virtual personal trainer,” adds Davis. “The bespoke software was built for us, and collates physiological and psychological data to create an exercise plan for you.” But, is it as good as a real trainer, asks RB. “Better,” confirms Davis. “It collects far more in-depth data, including your propensity to exercise and your likes and dislikes.” The only competition for VirtualGym.tv exists in America, where two companies operate in this space. “I’m not worried,” says Davis. “We were reviewed against them in the New York Daily news and the American journo gave them a thorough a hammering. There was so much DRM on one that they couldn’t even access the content. And the other only puts up four new videos a month. We put up 120.” It cost £400,000 to get the business up and running (excuse the pun), but after the initial cash-burn, costs remain fairly minimal. After utilities, rent and labour, Davis will make £1.27m on a £1.88m turnover next year. Not bad for a dotcom in its second year of trading. *Digital rights management. i.e. the files are locked. Picture source
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