Hiring Oprah as a spokesperson seems to have long-lasting positive effects for Weight Watchers’ bottom line. The company saw an increase in subscribers since she signed on, and now, six months after the ad campaign to promote her Weight Watchers journey launched, we’re also seeing company stock soar.
In Q1 of 2017, the weight loss giant’s subscriber base rose 16% year over year to 3.6 million, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence. The company also saw revenue rise to $329 million during the same quarter.
Now in June, Weight Watchers stock rose 29%. The company’s stock closed in May at $25.95 per share, and when June ended shares had risen to $33.42.
Winfrey purchased a 10% stake in the company when she signed on, which helped the struggling diet company find its footing. But now, more than six months after the big marketing push, it has also shown that it has longevity, and a sustainable business model to take it into the future, with or without Oprah’s celebrity.
Weight Watchers also hired Mindy Grossman as its new CEO, who came on board in July to build on its success.
"Weight Watchers has delivered a very successful winter season, solidifying the company's return to growth," said Chairman Ray Debbane in a statement. "I look forward to Mindy Grossman joining the Weight Watchers team and our board of directors in July. She is the right CEO to empower the brand and unlock its full potential."
One of the significant changes in Weight Watchers’ offerings is that subscribers can download the app to track their weight loss goals, making it easier for customers to engage. The new online system offers FitPoints, which is a combination of diet and exercise goals, so customers can get a better picture of their overall health, rather than just tracking what they eat. FitPoints adjust every two weeks to encourage users to increase or decrease their goals, depending on how active they are. FitPoints takes your weight, activities, intensity and duration into account.
Customers can sync FitPoints with their fitness trackers such as FitBit, offering a more personalized accountability system. Customers also have access to recipes, workout tips, and chatting online with other members of the Weight Watchers community when they subscribe.
Weight Watchers still offers in-person meetings for those who feel they need to extra motivation and accountability, as well as personal coaching over the phone and online. These services come at an additional cost to the $19.95 per month subscription fee for the app.