Weight Watchers, founded in 1961, has built up an ecosystem of dieting programs, food products and support centers for people seeking to slim down. With consumers paying more attention to how many calories they're burning from exercise or everyday activities, fitness gadgets have surged in popularity, with 51.2 million American adults using applications to track their health, according to Nielsen. That's making it harder for Weight Watchers to justify subscriptions starting at $20 a month, since activity trackers can be paired with free mobile apps that make it easy to analyze caloric input and output.
"Weight Watchers really has to change what they're offering -- they have to get modern," said Meredith Adler, an analyst at Barclays. "People are just more digital now than they ever were.""