Fitness DVDs, sweaty or serene, heat up cold market

Mon Jun 20, 2011 5:29pm EDT
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By Dorene Internicola

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Video may have killed the radio star, but reality TV has been a boon to fitness DVDs, industry experts say.

Workout DVDs still flex considerable muscle in an otherwise sagging market, as consumers wanting to shape up look for tough love from a celebrity trainer or try to dance with stars in their living rooms.

"We've definitely seen an increase in DVD sales over the last few years. I would say that the trend started in 2005," said Kajsa Vikman, the vice president of marketing and fitness at Lionsgate, the Santa Monica, California-based entertainment company.

Vikman believes shows like "The Biggest Loser" and "Dancing with the Stars" are powering much of the growth.

"Viewers see contestants on TV shows lose weight and feel they can have the same experience at home with these products," she said.

Fitness DVDs are bucking the downward trend of DVD sales generally.

The Nielsen Company, which tracks retail sales, said 2010 overall home video sales were down seven percent from 2009, while home video sales for fitness titles were up seven percent for the same period.

Leading the pack is "Jillian Michaels: 30-Day Shred," an intense workout by the no-nonsense trainer on "The Biggest Loser."   Continued...