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Video Industry, Put On Your Spandex!

10 Jul, 2003 By: Jessica Wolf

Everyone's getting a little older, not staying up as late and gambling a little bit less — why not get up a little earlier at this year's Video Software Dealers Association convention, poke some fun at each other in spandex, and start the day with a workout led by some big names in the fitness market, suggests Bill Sondheim president of GoodTimes Entertainment.

GoodTimes, currently the leading supplier in the fitness genre, is sponsoring three “Wake Up With” earlybird workouts at this year's show, starting each morning at 7:30 a.m. and open to all registrants. Tuesday July 29, attendees can wake up with walking-workout wonder woman Leslie Sansone; Wednesday July 30, it's kick-punch combos with Tae Bo heavyweight Billy Blanks; and Thursday July 31, yoga guru Baron Baptiste serves up an energizing stress-release workout.

The “Wake Up With” workouts also highlight GoodTimes new partnership with Blanks. The supplier recently acquired the rights to future “Tae Bo” programming.

There's no comparison to actually being in the same room with Blanks, Sondheim said, and the fitness star was eager to come to the VSDA show to provide a personal workout for people in the home entertainment industry.

“Billy Blanks, we have found in our short relationship, is the consummate salesman,” Sondheim said. “He is passionate about what he does, he believes that no one can sell it or present it better than him and he's made it clear that he wants to be aggressive with his new product line GoodTimes will be releasing.”

GoodTimes will release Tae Bo Cardio and Tae Bo Flex Oct. 7 (prebook Sept. 2) on VHS ($14.95) and DVD.

Sondheim said GoodTimes looks to “refresh and reinvigorate” Blanks and his signature “Tae Bo” workouts — cardio programs that incorporate martial arts moves, toning and strengthening exercises as well as meditative breathing techniques.

The “Tae Bo” line, once an overwhelming leader in fitness sales, has come up against strong competitions from, and a deluge of releases of lower-impact programs featuring Yoga and Pilates workouts.

But, the fitness market is a cyclical one, Sondheim said, adding that he expects fans to jump back on the Blanks bandwagon, especially with the new infomercial programming GoodTimes has planned, as well as more aggressive pricing strategies, and a line of equipment-related Blanks products that's in the works.

“At a certain point he was saturated and fatigued a little bit,” Sondheim said. “But we've come up with some ways to engage and energize the market for his workouts. People need diversity in their workouts and I think the market is ready for more ‘Tae Bo.’

Banks originally looked to GoodTimes for the company's infomercial expertise and wound up signing on for a production and distribution partnership, Sondheim said. Previously “Tae Bo” titles were released through Ventura Distribution, which still has the old “Tae Bo” programs. GoodTimes only holds the rights to future “Tae Bo” productions.

A distributor shift isn't unheard of in the fitness world. Workout queen Denise Austin left PPI several years ago for Artisan Home Entertainment, vaulting that supplier to become a major player in the fitness arena.

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