GoPro has designs on becoming a media company
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 20 May, 2014 - Announced at market close yesterday, the former one-man surf camera operation and current action cam king has officially filed for a $100 million IPO.
The IPO itself isn’t much of a surprise, given GoPro’s confidential filing in February. What is surprising some is that GoPro is filing for an IPO at all during what Forbes is calling “a particularly uncertain time for tech companies looking to enter the public market.”
Other companies have held off on their IPOs recently for just this reason, and many that have entered the market have fared worse than expected.
The answer, however, may lie in GoPro’s financial numbers. At the end of last year GoPro was all boisterous confidence. Revenues had doubled year over year from the company’s inception through 2012, and things were still looking very good in 2013 — they ended up not quite doubling, but still experiencing a more-than-respectable 87.4% jump in revenues over the previous year.
GoPro wants to be a media company. That transformation—physical goods to digital media—is one that many companies are making these days, and it's an intuitive next step for GoPro.
The convergence of social and mobile publishing has created all kinds of well-defined channels for content distribution, and audiences already congregate around those channels. So why wouldn't a retailer or manufacturer want to put its product in front of them? For GoPro, becoming a media company means tapping into a distribution network with content that makes people want to buy GoPro cameras.
Another way to think about it: GoPro is getting people to buy its cameras, then distributing those customers' footage like ads, which encourages more people to buy GoPro cameras, and so on.
How will it do this? The company plans to develop a platform for editing and sharing videos. But instead of reinventing YouTube, GoPro hopes to use the existing social publishing platforms to its advantage. It lists YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter feeds and channels as part of the "GoPro network," according to the 227-page document GoPro filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday. (It also has a newly launched channel on Xbox Live, as well as a GoPro channel on Virgin America.)