This thread reminds me of a politician getting elected on a bold strategy to double investment in roads, infrastructure and schooling. Everyone loves him, he is elected in a landslide.
When in power he does what he says he will do, but also raises taxes. People complain and he replies “how on earth did you think we would pay for all this?”
TR announced all these initiatives and ‘improvements’ to the core offering of training indoors.
No one thought to ask how this is funded - answer is we fund it.
I guarantee the almost universal praise that greeted the announcement of outside training would have been very different if it was directly linked to a double of new fees.
And then, as someone suggested, you could have a tiered approach. Indoor training is $99 a yr
The full package is $199
Ps this is not a criticism of TR; just a comment that if your favourite small family run hotel suddenly announces they have built a spa/pool complex, the room rates are probably going to increase going forward
That’s enough metaphors for one reply !
TR is funded (presumably, because that info is not visible) by its founders, self-generated cash flow, and maybe some angel investors. Zwift is financed by VCs putting a lot of cash into the machine. That creates different needs on the revenue per user front.
And again - nobody is obligated to use TR (or any of its alternatives). There are no men in dark suits, duct tape or tie-wraps involved. It’s a free market. You like, you pay, you use. You don’t, then you don’t and you don’t.
Does Strava have a way of monetizing the free accounts? They collect a lot of user data that probably could be additional profit. If so, then pointing to success of their tiered system as a model needs to be taken with a grain of salt.
Not suggesting that tiered wouldn’t work or maybe be even better but just that there could be other things going on with their particular business model that won’t work for TR.
The size of Strava’s (active) userbase will dictate how much companies will be willing to spend to create an advertising presence there, so even without data it is in their best interest to attract as many free users as possible.
I’d agree except that their niche is never going to be huge since they have targeted performance improving over social networking. I don’t think free memberships would attract enough people to the TR user base to be of interest to those companies. I believe that TR users (as well as other serious training platforms) will be too small a market segment to monetize in this way.
This doesn’t mean that a tiered system couldn’t work. I just don’t think free accounts will do much other than hurt TR’s bottomline.
“As long as [Nate] is CEO” is a telling qualification to the TR pricing strategy for loyal subscribers…
With Sufferfest recently selling out to Wahoo, Garmin buying Tacx, and the current excitement around Zwift competitions, you can bet that the competition for virtual training is going to escalate appreciably over the coming years. Software businesses with a loyal recurring customer base tend to be very attractive businesses for M&A, particularly when there are attractive synergies to be realized.
If Nate is looking to “sell out”, then I think this massive price increase and the significant premium TR is seeking over the competition will end up being a big detraction from a suitor’s valuation of the business.; particularly when you consider a significant base of that recurring customer base is priced in at a very significant discount to the now current pricing–i.e. there would likely be revenue dis-synergies from normalizing everyone to a single price point from significant subscriber losses.
I see this industry as having effectively two segments–those that are looking for the virtual, social experience that Zwift provides, and those that prefer a more serious training platform with good analytical and planning tools. Some will use both–me included.
Looking at all the platforms available, I honestly think that Xert is one the most compelling options for M&A, as their algorithms seem to provide you with a virtual coach that can tell you where you are in your training track and will make optimized workout recommendations based on where you are in that track. The only problem with that platform is that it is very complex, lacks a calendar tool, and could probably benefit from a GUI simplification.
TR has seen three meaningful product features in the past few years–data analytics, the calendar tool, and from what I can tell the Garmin integration to take workouts outdoors (I don’t currently plan to use this feature). The first two were significant in what the provided, but are quickly growing stale. If I was @Nate_Pearson, I would be seriously looking at M&A and partnerships to stay relevant in this industry and increase the valuation and sustainability of my business…
Spot on regarding the TP and training plan combo, especially more so for triathletes who can actually see and perform analysis on their activities. It is even a more attractive option for anyone whose national cycling organisation has a discount scheme with TP, myself and my wife (who is the triathlete) can get up to 40% off TP, so with the one off cost of a training plan with structured workouts that is reusable there really isn’t any doubt which is the better financial option. I’m grandfathered in at a lower rate than my wife for TR, so it is just about worth it for me , but not so much for my wife who will likely now buy a training plan from TP so she can get better feedback on her swim/run activities.
I don’t use the calendar feature or the analytics for 2 reasons:
I’m a triathlete and none of my swim or run workouts show up in the log. Even to do something as simple as show duration.
More importantly, I don’t use the calendar/analytics because WKO is a far better tool to analyze my training.
When/if TR adds swim/run analysis to the calendar it will be irrelevant to me. I don’t know how many triathletes would drop their TrainingPeaks, Today’s Plan etc to make TR their “one stop shop”?!?! I doubt that expanding multi-sport offerings would bring in or keep triathletes looking for a training platform. It’s probably best that TR stays focused on the bicycle.
Each time I hear about new features to make TR a “one stop shop” it makes me think of the saying “jack of all trades master of none”.
I am disappointed. TR guys always communicated in a way you think you know what’s going on and now this…
The price is just so high for someone living in not-so-rich country. I am grandfathered so it’s not big concern for me now, but I am pretty sure once I cancel the subscription (for example because of health issues), I will not come back.
All I ever wanted were plans. That’s why I am with Trainerroad. While the new features are nice, they are really not that useful for me. As someone pointed out before, the Analytics are not real analytics (Golden Cheetah user here) and while calendar is cool, it’s still just a calendar. Outside workouts are good but definitely not something I would pay for if asked. I will say it again - all I ever wanted were plans.
Having the possibility to pay just for the features you need would be better solution imo.
From now on, I am afraid hearing about ‘some cool new stuff coming in TR soon’ in podcasts will translate to me like ‘Price increase around the corner guys’.
I understand triathletes not kicking over to TR until the run and swim tracking and analytical functionality exists. I’m as much of a data junkie as anyone, but over the years my need to get into the weeds of my data analysis has flowed and then ebbed. There are a few key metrics I look at, but the vast majority of what’s offered by WKO is, in my opinion, not terribly useful to an individual athlete. It’s great that you can click and get all kinds of numbers and graphs and charts, but the reality is to train effectively you don’t really need 75% or more of it. I’d also tell you that the people who have convinced us that the PMC is a necessity and that we shouldn’t train without dialing in our CTL/ATL/TSB have a vested financial interest in us doing so. And again, I say that as a long-time TP user and near-term TPU attendee… the PMC just isn’t nearly as valuable as many athletes seem to think it is, in my opinion, and particularly as your season progresses.
That said, the argument for a tiered pricing strategy for TR is a sound one, in my opinion. If someone is set on having TrainingPeaks or WKO (et. al.) for in depth data analysis capability, then the price increase to pay for things above and beyond the training platform is going to be off-putting.
I think TrainerRoad is going to try to be a one-stop plan, log, training platform, and analytics engine for cyclists and multisport athletes sooner rather than later.