Weight Watchers International: The Ultimate Contrarian Stock

Then-CEO David Kirchhoff acknowledged that the company had not effectively communicated the benefits of its program. Instead, consumers found the program confusing and thought it required too much of a commitment.

So, problem No. 1 is ineffective advertising.

Problem No. 2 is the proliferation of free apps and activity monitors. MyFitnessPal is one of many free apps that offers a free alternative to premium weight-loss programs. MyFitnessPal creates a personalized diet plan based on users\’ personal profile and provides online discussion forums where members can meet and encourage one another.

Although the free apps are attracting many dieters — MyFitnessPal has more than 40 million users  — Weight Watchers\’ unmatched in-person support network gives it a competitive advantage. The key to effective weight loss is an effective support group — and support is Weight Watchers\’ greatest strength.

via Weight Watchers International: The Ultimate Contrarian Stock.

Here’s the thing.  There’s terrific evidence that WW works. We all know people it did wonders for.  Mostly because it was UNDERSTANDABLY SIMPLE, and you got IN PERSON SUPPORT and encouragement.

But now there’s tons of free software, even WW point software, if you want it, and lots of online places to get support from other weight losers.  And truthfully we’ve become a much less in person  group-ey people as the internet has provided a lot of social interaction for us.

So WW is facing declining membership.  Is it the end?  Likely not, but they’ll have to come up with easier non-meeting options, and keep making the meetings easier to get to, closer to where you are, and something you look forward to.  Tough.

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