Why Slumping GoPro Burned $105 Million on Video Editing Apps

Nicholas "Nick" Woodman, founder and chief executive officer of GoPro, holds a GoPro Hero 3+ camera.
Photograph by David Paul Morris — Bloomberg/Getty Images

GoPro wants you to get better at telling stories with videos regardless of what you use to capture the footage.

To do that, the hardware company recently announced plans to acquire two video editing applications designed for smartphones: Splice and Replay.

Speaking at Wednesday’s Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference, GoPro CEO Nicholas Woodman detailed the company’s approach to improving the overall GoPro experience, starting with making it easier to create presentable movies using footage from either a smartphone or the pocket-size action cameras the company is known for.

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“In simplest terms, GoPro (GPRO) needs to become contemporary. GoPro needs to deliver consumers the same seamless experience they’re enjoying with their smartphone today,” Woodman said. “Using a GoPro camera to [express yourself] has required quite a bit of effort to offload the content, edit, and share it. The bar has been set by the smartphone.”

Amid layoffs, cutting back its product lineup, and revamping its desktop editing software, GoPro has to combat the stigma that its products are only for daredevils who jump out of planes and not the average consumer.

Woodman held up the company’s $199 Hero4 Session camera as a device that’s easy for anyone to use, including his year-and-a-half-old son.

For more read GoPro Drops Price of Hero4 Session for Second Time

Splice and Replay are another method of putting GoPro products (albeit software) in the hands of new users: “I think that one of the most important aspects of these acquisitions is that they allow us to open up GoPro’s brand and content enabling solutions to billions of smartphone users and make GoPro very relevant to them,” Woodman explained.

Woodman views Replay and Splice—both of which will eventually be rebranded under GoPro’s name—as a low-cost entries to the GoPro experience. The idea is that as users of the mobile apps begin to rely upon and trust GoPro’s editing capabilities, users will eventually want to upgrade the experience by purchasing a GoPro camera.

For more on GoPro watch our video.

Other notable announcements from the conference include Karma, GoPro’s drone, is still on track for release in the first half of 2016. Additionally, GoPro’s new desktop editing software called “GoPro for Desktop” will be released by the end of the March.

GoPro is in need of a spark after a disastrous fourth-quarter of selling its cameras. And since users aren’t likely to upgrade their GoPros with each new product release, software is a logical place for the company to look to improve.

And by improving the overall software experience, GoPro increases the likelihood that a user stays invested in the company’s hardware. “The customer needs to have success with your product,” says Woodman. “And success for a GoPro customer is easily creating and sharing content.”

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