NBC’s weight-loss competition “The Biggest Loser” got off to a solid start in its fourth installment this fall, quickly earning a fifth-cycle pickup.
But its producers are not relying solely on the show’s on-air performance to keep it going. Rather, they have been working to build “Loser” into a health and lifestyle brand with diet and fitness books, magazines, DVDs, an online club and licensed products including bathroom and kitchen scales.
Extending the “Loser” brand helps market and build awareness for the show, said Mark Koops, co-managing director of Reveille, the production company founded by new NBC chief Ben Silverman.
The process began in March 2005 with the publication of “The Biggest Loser Book,” just five months after the first season aired. It sold about 200,000 copies and spent 14 weeks on The New York Times best-seller list. “The Biggest Loser Cookbook,” published in October 2006, sold 125,000 copies and spent 12 weeks on The Times’ best-seller list. “The Biggest Loser Fitness Program” hit bookstores two weeks ago and contains tips from the show’s contestants, trainers and medical staff.
The Biggest Loser magazine’s first issue sold more than 218,000 copies when it went on sale in December, and the second edition has sold more than 185,000 copies since it hit newsstands in August.
“The Biggest Loser: The Workout DVD” released in December 2005, sold 350,000 copies and became the top-selling fitness DVD of 2006. Two titles, “The Biggest Loser Cardio Max DVD” and ”The Biggest Loser Power Sculpt DVD,” are due to be released in December. Trainers and contestants lead the workouts in the DVDs.
The Biggest Loser Online Club — which offers detailed meal and fitness plans, access to experts and past contestants from the show, support groups and daily tips — has 75,000 members, with 17,000 joining since this season’s premiere September 11. Koops said the club is now the third-most-popular health and lifestyle subscription site online, after Weight Watchers and WebMD.
This month, bathroom and kitchen scales from Homedics’ Taylor division will hit shelves at Wal-Mart, major department stores and drug stores. Koops also said Reveille is in serious discussions with fitness equipment and apparel manufacturers about creating “Loser”-branded products.