GoPro Transforming From Wearable Camera Maker Into New Media Company

Last week, GoPro revealed that it was using the LOYAL3 Social IPO Platform to allocate some of its Class A common stock being offered in its initial public offering (IPO). This will be available to customers and fans at the same price and at the same time as Wall Street. And even if digital marketers have absolutely no interest in the company’s IPO, they should take the time to read GoPro’s prospectus. It contains one of the top YouTube success stories as well as a detailed description of how the wearable camera maker is transforming itself into a new media company.

The phrase, “We’re all publishers now,” has already become somewhat of a cliché. But, in the Prospectus Summary, the company says, “GoPro is transforming the way consumers capture, manage, share, and enjoy meaningful life experiences. We do this by enabling people to capture compelling, immersive photo and video content of themselves participating in their favorite activities. Our customers include some of the world’s most active and passionate people. The volume and quality of their shared GoPro content, coupled with their enthusiasm for our brand, are virally driving awareness and demand for our products. To date, we have generated substantially all of our revenue from the sale of our cameras and accessories and we believe that the growing adoption of our capture devices and the engaging content they enable, position GoPro to become an exciting new media company.” That’s a relatively new idea that other digital marketers will want to think about.

The company adds, “What began as an idea to help athletes document themselves engaged in their sport has become a widely adopted solution for people to document themselves engaged in their interests, whatever they may be. From extreme to mainstream, professional to consumer, GoPro has enabled the world to capture and share its passions, and the world, in turn, is enabling GoPro to become one of the most exciting and aspirational companies of our time.” In other words, GoPro has helped its customers to put their selfies on steroids. What other trends could digital marketers tap into?

So, was this worth the candle? According to the Prospectus Summary, GoPro generated revenue of $234.2 million and reported net income of $24.6 million in 2011, generated revenue of $526.0 million and reported net income of $32.3 million in 2012, and generated revenue of $985.7 million and reported net income of $60.6 million in 2013. So, yes, helping their customers to put their selfies on steroids appears to have been well worth the candle.

Content marketers will want to read the section of the Prospectus about GoPro’s business focus. It says, “Enabling engaging content is at the core of our business. We develop hardware and software solutions to alleviate consumer pain points associated with capturing, managing, sharing, and enjoying engaging content.” Although the second sentence is unique to GoPro and the digital era, the first sentence could have been written back in 1900 by André Michelin, when he and his brother published their first Guide Michelin, which was a source of reliable and practical information for French travelers.

Product marketers will want to read about GoPro Studio, the company’s desktop application, and the GoPro App. GoPro’s Prospectus says, “GoPro Studio enables our customers to quickly edit simple or complex videos and create videos from time-lapse photo sequences. As of March 31, 2014, there had been more than 4.3 million downloads of GoPro Studio. During the first quarter of 2014, our customers in the aggregate exported, on average, 20,000 videos per day using GoPro Studio. In addition to facilitating full camera control from a mobile device, the GoPro App enables a customer to easily and wirelessly copy footage from a GoPro camera to a mobile device for storage and sharing without a computer.”

Social media marketers will want to read the part of the Prospectus that says, “By facilitating the capture, management and editing of engaging photos and videos, we are ultimately helping our customers share more compelling personal content. GoPro Studio and the GoPro App facilitate the posting of photos and videos directly to leading social networks and content platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Vimeo, and YouTube. Thousands of GoPro customer photos and videos are shared daily, driving awareness and enthusiasm for our customers’ content, as well as for GoPro’s own brand and products. In 2013, our customers uploaded to YouTube approximately 2.8 years’ worth of video featuring ‘GoPro’ in the title. Also on YouTube, in the first quarter of 2014, there was an average of 6,000 daily uploads and more than 1.0 billion views representing over 50.0 million watched hours of videos with ‘GoPro’ in the title, filename, tags or description.”

Content marketers will want to read the part of the Prospectus that says, “GoPro enables the production of entertaining and inspiring content, both in the form of our customers’ user-generated content, or UGC, as well as GoPro originally produced content that we collectively refer to as GoPro programming. This often features professional athletes, celebrities and entertainers, as well as everyday people engaged in their favorite activities. Having recognized the role GoPro content plays in attracting and exciting consumers, we are expanding the distribution of GoPro programming to engage and build relationships with even those consumers who do not own a GoPro capture device.”

Finally, chief marketing officers (CMOs) will want to read the part of the Prospectus that says, “We distribute GoPro programming through what we refer to as the GoPro Network, a collection of GoPro Channels hosted on a variety of platforms, including the following:

  • Facebook: over 7.2 million ‘likes;’
  • Instagram: over 2.0 million followers;
  • Twitter: over 950,000 followers; and
  • YouTube: over 450 million video views, over 1.8 million subscribers, and ranked number one on the Brand
  • Channel Leaderboard for January through March 2014.’

However, CMOs will also want to read the part that says, “As of December 31, 2013, we had not derived revenue from the distribution of, or social engagement with, our content on the GoPro Network. However, we plan to pursue new revenue opportunities from the distribution of engaging GoPro content in the near term. For example, in the first quarter of 2014, we entered into an agreement with Microsoft to develop and launch the GoPro Channel on Xbox Live, a leading delivery system for IP video streams on connected televisions, that will provide us with access to advertising revenue, fees from third-party sponsorship of the GoPro Channel and the ability to sell our capture devices directly to consumers as they watch GoPro programming. We expect to begin earning revenue from GoPro Channel advertising and sponsorship opportunities on Xbox Live and GoPro Channel advertising on YouTube and Virgin America in the second quarter of 2014. We do not expect the revenue earned from these GoPro Channels to be material to us in 2014.”

So, if your marketing executives are planning to hold an offsite later this summer to plan for 2015, now is the time to put the GoPro Prospectus on their summer reading list. They will all want to read it before your CEO does – so they have time to prepare for some unexpected and probing questions. And, if some of the other marketing executives aren’t yet familiar with the GoPro story, then respectfully suggest that they watch the following YouTube video:

This video is unlisted. Be considerate and think twice before sharing.

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