Another Shaky Quarter For GoPro

If a GoPro were capturing its sales and stock performance, you’d see a lot of whirling imagery on a protracted tumble above a rocky pathway. It reported a 40% percent decline in third-quarter revenue yesterday and lowered its yearly revenue forecast, which sent its stock crashing by 20% in after-hours trading.

“During the quarter, GoPro, maker of action sports cameras, saw revenue fall to $240.6 million from $400.3 million a year earlier. GoPro's stock was halted before reporting earnings, which marked the fourth straight quarter of declining revenue,” writes Jake Smith for iGeneration on ZDNet.

Not that GoPro founder and CEO Nicholas Woodman is seeing anything but blue skies. Yesterday’s earnings press release begins: “These are the best products we've ever made and consumer demand is strong. GoPro is now a seamless storytelling experience and we're very happy with customer reception so far. Looking forward to 2017, we expect to return to profitability, driven by the strength of our new products, double-digit revenue growth and annual operating expenses of approximately $650 million.”



“This is not only the story of what happened to GoPro on Thursday, but the events of last year, when the company mismanaged its Hero4 launch,” writes Jeremy C. Owens for MarketWatch. “After bungling that event, [Woodman] defiantly ramped up expectations for this year’s offerings, proclaiming, ‘In 2016, we are committed to delivering the breakthrough experience we’ve all been waiting for.’

“Yeah, not so much,” Owens comments. “GoPro’s launch of the Hero5 camera and Karma drone were befouled by production issues, executives said Thursday.”

Indeed, the atmosphere was giddy with high hopes when Woodman introduced the products at a well-choreographed event in Squaw Valley just six weeks ago that was reminiscent of Steve Jobs’ performances for some of Apple’s breakthrough products.

“It’s still too early to tell if the company’s bet on drones and aerial capture will pay off in the long run. It’s going to be difficult for GoPro to repeat its action camera dominance with both drones and virtual reality,” writes John Mannes for TechCrunch. “The late start to addressing those growing markets shows a lack of direction from the company. This sentiment was echoed by investors on the earnings call that questioned CEO Nick Woodman’s thesis for the business.”

That call was transcribed by Seeking Alpha.

“Before GoPro went public in 2014, the tiny camera was insanely popular with the action sports crowd of surfers, skate boarders and cyclers, who used it to get awesome footage that couldn't be captured on other devices.” Jefferson Graham recalls for USA Today.

But expanding that enthusiasm to the masses has been a difficult maneuver.

“GoPro faces pressure to demonstrate there is a more mainstream market for its cameras beyond its adrenaline-addicted core. But as it tries to go more mainstream, it faces competition from do-it-all smartphones from tech giants such as Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Corp.,” points out Georgia Wells for the Wall Street Journal.

With its drone hitting the market last week, you might think that things are looking up. Un-uh, suggests Bloomberg’s Kyle Stock.

“GoPro’s new Karma drone, while slick and exciting, leaves something to be desired. It can’t be programmed to follow someone, has no system to avoid obstacles, and can’t be controlled via a smartphone,” he writes. “These would just be nitpicks were it not for the DJI Mavic Pro, a rival drone unveiled a few days after Karma. The Mavic, which comes from the company that dominates the drone game, has all the things Karma lacks — plus it’s smaller and lighter and flies far higher and farther.”

Sounds like one of those epic battles between Superman and any other flying foe. We all know how those wind up. But Recode’s April Glaser reports that the “hyped Mavic Pro” has had it own problems getting off the assembly line.

“The company published a blog post today noting that orders for one of the small, foldable aircraft placed before Nov. 3 may not ship for seven to eight weeks — roughly the end of 2016,” Glaser writes. “As Recode reported a couple of weeks ago, customers were complaining when they still hadn’t heard word about when they’d receive their $999 aircraft nearly a week after it was supposed to ship in mid-October.”

All that said, if the skies around me are any indication, make no mistake that the drones are coming, the drones are coming.

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