Can GoPro Bounce Back?

February 4, 2016, 12:45 AM UTC

GoPro’s latest quarterly results were anything but action packed.

Sales at the action camera maker fell 31% to $437 million compared to the same period last year as customers failed to materialize during the all-important holiday season, the company said Wednesday. And a weak revenue outlook of $160 million to $180 million, versus an expected $298 million, shows that things aren’t going to get better anytime soon.

So how does GoPro bounce back? It simplifies, at least according to CEO Nicholas Woodman.

“Our challenge is to make GoPro simple,” he told analysts during a conference call on Wednesday.

Starting in April, GoPro will stop selling its entry-level cameras, the Hero, Hero+, and Hero+ LCD. The decision cost the company $57 million in the quarter.

Overall, GoPro lost $34.5 million in the quarter, or 25 cents a share.

By streamlining the product lineup, GoPro will focus marketing efforts on the $199 Hero4 Session, $399 Hero4 Silver, and $499 Hero4 Black. That Hero line, intended to springboard the company from its roots with daredevil sports enthusiasts into a more mainstream market, has failed to gain traction.

To lure non-adventure seekers to test the waters, GoPro slashed the price of the Hero 4 Session by half over the course of a few months. According to former GoPro chief financial officer Jack Lazar, that decision helped to increase sales of the Session “three-fold” after the second price drop in December.

On Wednesday, following the disappointing quarter, GoPro said Lazar would step down. He is being replaced next month by Brian McGee, who joined GoPro last year from chipmaker Qualcomm.

Furthermore, Woodman said GoPro will make changes to the software on its products and the software used to edit photos and videos captured with its cameras. “The problem is it’s still too hard to offload, access, and edit GoPro content,” he said.

To improve the user experience, GoPro is releasing a new editing program in March. Woodman said GoPro for Desktop will bring a “breakthrough in convenience” to the platform. New features will include the ability to trim videos and share them directly to Facebook or YouTube.

Woodman promised that the company will release “an entirely new” editing experience later this year. Anyone who has used GoPro’s editing tools will appreciate the company’s effort to reevaluate and simplify.

The company will also make it easier to connect its products to smartphones and “the cloud.” With the latter part of Woodman’s promise presumably indicating GoPro’s software will gain the ability to directly upload to services such as Dropbox or YouTube.

Furthermore GoPro will release what Woodman described as “the most connected and convenient GoPro ever made later this year,” under the Hero5 brand name. However, his optimistic sale pitches have often failed to live up to the hype.

For more read GoPro cameras aren’t just for adrenaline junkies anymore

Shortly before announcing the firms fourth quarter results, GoPro posted another video captured by Karma, its upcoming drone. The flying camera follows a group of skiers and snowboarders down the slopes, and if you try hard enough you can possibly catch a glimpse of the unreleased product reflected in a helmet visor at the 35 second mark.

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For GoPro, the new drone is a sort of lifeline. If it does well, the company may be able to stop the hemorrhaging. If not, it could be a huge blow. The drone is expected to premiere sometime in the first half of 2016.

Woodman went on to ask investors to judge the company’s 2016 performance by its ability to meet the challenge of simplifying its products.

But investors didn’t seem so optimistic about the new simplify philosophy. The company’s shares (GPRO) tumbled nearly 10% in after-hours trading to $9.72, nearly 90% lower than their peak just 15 months ago.



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