Since the time of their introduction to the video production industry nearly a decade ago, GoPro cameras, with their accompanying mounts, attachments and enclosures have found quick acceptance amongst video producers and action sports enthusiasts alike. The GoPro name quickly became synonymous with extreme action videos the likes of which the world had never seen before. Without a direct competitor, it seemed GoPro had cornered the market on mountable compact video cameras and there was nowhere to go but up. And GoPro went up — in popularity and in profitability. It seems, however, that the times are a changin’ for the mini-camera giant.
After the company failed to meet already lowered fourth quarter revenue goals — missing by more than four million dollars — GoPro stocks plummeted. The company had already announced plans to lay off at least 250 employees and to exit the drone market, which has been a declining space for GoPro in light of growing competition from DJI and a plethora of low-cost Chinese-made competitors, not to mention what GoPro has called a “hostile regulatory environment.”
GoPro is already revisiting its pricing strategy, reporting a recent boost in revenue after lowering prices.
To his credit, GoPro CEO Nick Woodman seems ready to do whatever it takes to turn things around and regain the posture of growth that the company expects. Reports indicate that he has decided to lower his personal compensation to just $1 for 2018; presumably as a show of good faith to nervous investors. His desire to right the ship may also lead to more favorable pricing and purchasing options for consumers. GoPro is already revisiting its pricing strategy, reporting a recent boost in revenue after lowering prices. And it has announced plans to implement a five-dollar per month subscription strategy that would include unlimited cloud-based photo storage, 35 hours of cloud video storage, 20 percent off GoPro accessories and allow customers to replace cameras with “no questions asked.”
GoPro’s financial struggles aren’t necessarily a net negative for consumers. Generally speaking, companies that struggle tend to be motivated to innovate. The reality is that there is a good change that the GoPro camera you may have purchased three years ago still works as good as it did when you got it, and you don’t have a compelling reason to justify an upgrade. In order to grow in revenue, companies must either sell the same product to more customers or sell more products to the customers they already have. Presently, GoPro is doing neither. We began this column with the proverb, “what goes up must come down.” As a fan of innovation, my sincere hope is that GoPro will rise again. Perhaps another proverb will hold true as well, “Necessity is the mother of invention.”
Matthew York is Videomaker’s Publisher/Editor.