Peloton CEO doesn't care that its equipment is losing money, sees path forward in the app



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Barry McCarthy speaks during an interview with CNBC on floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), October 28, 2019.

Brendan McDermid | Reuters

Peloton CEO Barry McCarthy told investors Wednesday he doesn't care that the company is losing money on its Bike, Tread and Row equipment. The business' "path to the promise land," he said, is its mobile app. 

Peloton posted negative margins during the holiday quarter for its pricey connected fitness products, but McCarthy said he's more concerned with aggregate margins, which were in the positive thanks to the company's subscription revenue

"We take a holistic view of the revenue stream and the expenses associated with both the hardware and the subscription associated with it. So from my part, I don't particularly care about the hardware margin," McCarthy said during the company's earnings call. 

"I care about it on an aggregate basis, and I care about the relationship between the lifetime value of the customer relative to the cost of acquisition," he said.

In Peloton's fiscal second quarter of 2023, ended Dec. 31, the exercise equipment company lost $42.8 million on its connected fitness products, bringing the division's gross margin to negative 11.2%. 

The company's overall gross margin of 29.7% was kept afloat by the $277.9 million Peloton made from its subscription business, at a margin of 67.6%. 

While subscription revenue was effectively flat quarter over quarter, it exceeded sales from Peloton's connected fitness products for the third quarter in a row. McCarthy told CNBC it signals a possible "turning point" for the company. 

When asked about how the app, which features on-demand workout classes from the company's pseudo-celebrity instructors, fits into the exercise equipment company's overall strategy, McCarthy said his primary goal is to expand Peloton's total market share by reaching a user base that it hasn't been able to access before.

The cost of the app, which doesn't require any Peloton equipment, is $12.99 per month compared with the $44 monthly cost for the company's all-access membership that can be used on its connected fitness equipment. 

"I think of it as its own endgame," McCarthy said. 

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