There are numerous camera companies in the United States and the rest of the world. These companies manufacture and sell a wide variety of cameras to fulfill the different needs of customers. GoPro Corporation stands apart as the most popular newcomer in the camera market.
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This company, which was started in 2002, has grown to become a market leader in cameras. Success for GoPro did not come immediately and the charismatic creator of the company, Nicholas Woodman, admits that success only came after ten years of hard work and innovation.
Through various innovations and effective marketing strategies, the company has managed to become a household name in the US. This paper will provide an informative review of GoPro Corporation by providing details of the company’s history, an overview of its product line, target markets, market share, competitors and the company’s net worth.
History of the Company
The innovative entrepreneur Nick Woodman created GoPro, Inc in 2002. This entrepreneur had a passion for surfing in the West-Coast oceans. He envisioned creating a simple means of attaching cameras to surfers, thus enabling them to record their stunts. After carrying out initial tests with some of the model straps he invented in 2001, Woodman concluded that it would be necessary for him to engage in the production of the camera, its housing and the mounting to realize the results he wanted.
Ryan notes that this realization occurred after Woodman noted that the cameras he wanted to sell would need a waterproof housing (par.4). This necessitated creating a company that could engage in these assembly tasks. Woodman, therefore, founded the Woodman Labs in 2002, which was a company for developing cameras and tethers.
This company was to become the parent company of GoPro, and through it, Woodman drafted the patents and legal documents for his creations. The first type of camera to be sold by GoPro was a 35-mm camera made in China. Woodman bought these cameras from Chinese manufacturers and then customized them for sale to extreme sports enthusiasts. By 2005, Woodman had managed to make a revenue of about $350,000 from selling GoPro cameras.
A major change in GoPro occurred in 2006 when the company ventured into digital media. With the introduction of the Digital Hero, GoPro had made the transition into digital cameras. The initial cameras could capture video shots but did not have audio capabilities. This changed in 2007 when the company introduced the Digital Hero 3.
This camera could capture video and audio at relatively impressive resolutions. The next significant development, which helped to further propel the company, was in 2008. In this year, GoPro introduced wide-angle lenses that made it possible to take impressive panorama shots. The company also started to market its cameras as mountable devices that would enable users to make videos of themselves engaging in activities such as surfing, diving, and skiing.
In 2010, GoPro moved to High-definition. This move led to an increase in sales for the company as the HD cameras combined with the wide-angle lenses opened up new markets. Ryan notes that GoPro sales more than tripled from 2009 to 2010 (par. 15). This impressive growth attracted the attention of rich outside investors. Venture capital firms started expressing their interest in making investments in GoPro.
After negotiations, GoPro allowed five venture capital firms to make an investment of $88million in the company. The additional investment made it possible for the company to engage in more research and development leading to better products. The company was able to introduce HD cameras with higher megapixels and higher frame rates. This led to a further increase in sales for the company.
The revenue increase experienced by the company in 2012 led to a $200 million investment from the Chinese Based electronics giant, Foxconn. This capital boost contributed to even greater sales being realized by the company in 2013. The company changed into a publicly traded company on June 26, 2014, when it made its IPO. The value of GoPro has risen significantly since June leading to a tremendous increase in the net worth of the company.
The Company Mission Statement
Through its official website, GoPro states that its mission is to “to help people capture and share their lives’ most meaningful experiences with others: to celebrate them together” (Woodman par.3). Through its range of versatile cameras, the company helps people to capture experiences and share them with friends making life more fun.
Overview of Product Line
The Digital Hero product line introduced in 2006 has remained to be the flagship brand for the company. The GoPro Hero marked the transition of GoPro cameras into digital technology. The GoPro Digital HERO product line contained Digital HERO 1, introduced in 2007 to Digital Hero 5 released in 2008.
The breakthrough for the company occurred when the HD Hero cameras were introduced in 2010. Solomon asserts that the HD Hero cameras are the company’s biggest sellers (par.5). This product line, which has become a standard in capturing action sports, features HD video, panoramic shots, and high storage capacities.
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The HD HERO series includes the HD HERO released in 2010, HD HERO2 released in 2010 and the HD HERO3 introduced in late 2012. GoPro HD HERO2 achieved the greatest sales for the company. This product was issued in three formats, which included the outdoor, motorsport, and surf editions.
Each edition is specially modified to achieve optimal results for particular action sports. The HERO3 sports camera is a marked upgrade from its predecessor, and it has dominated the market for the past two years. The HERO3 also comes in three formats that are the White, Black, and Silver editions.
GoPro plans to introduce three new cameras in the month. A report by Strauss indicates that these latest action cameras are the GoPro Hero, The Hero4 Silver, and the Hero4 Black (par.3). The high-end Hero4 lines will include enhanced low-light capabilities as well as touch-screen displays that show footage of the scenes being shot.
In addition to cameras, GoPro offers a variety of mounts that are designed to assist the user capture footage in any circumstance. The wide array of mounts includes body-board mounts, chest harnesses, surfboard mounts, wrist mounts, and head straps. These wide selections of mounts make it possible for GoPro camera users to record themselves while engaged in diverse activities.
One of GoPro’s greatest strength is that it has a target group whose needs it sufficiently satisfies. GoPro’s primary target market is action sports enthusiasts. Ryan notes that GoPro has a market in all places where action sports are being carried out (par.5). This includes surfers, bikers, skaters, and skydivers to name but a few.
This target market is well in line with the company’s core objectives of creating cameras that would enable amateurs to capture themselves while in action with angles and quality similar to that produced by professional photographers. Strauss notes that in spite of the emergence of phone cameras that can record in HD, GoPro still has a major market since most people will not attach their smartphones to sporting implements such as mountain bikes or surfboards (par.21).
In addition to extreme sports enthusiasts, GoPro also targets people engaging in simple sports such as soccer, tennis, basketball, and horseback riding. GoPro has expressed a desire to expand its target market. In addition to its primary target market, the company also makes products that can be applicable to people in their everyday life.
Effective marketing strategies play an important role in giving GoPro a competitive edge in the high-definition personal cameras market. One of the most successful marketing methods being used by GoPro is creating viral videos that attract the attention of internet users. Initially, GoPro paid professional stuntmen and athletes to appear in videos that demonstrated the high-performance of GoPro cameras. These videos were then released to the public through the company’s website and its YouTube Channel.
However, many people who had bought the company’s cameras started to submit their own content. This user-generated content attracted a lot of attention from other users and the company saw an opportunity to market itself even further using this content. Landau reports that GoPro realized that the user-generated content featuring the company’s cameras not only marketed GoPro but it also increased the authenticity of the advertisements (par.7).
The effectiveness of the online marketing strategy led to GoPro being named “top brand channel” by YouTube for the first three months of this year (Landau 5). This is done through the company’s official website as well as its YouTube channel where fans can interact and post videos shot from GoPro cameras.
Market Share/Sales Revenue
Due to the impressive quality of cameras developed by GoPro and its effective marketing strategies, the company has enjoyed growing sales over the past few years. In the US, GoPro cameras have taken a huge market share with 45% of all camcorders sold in the US being from this company. This out rightly places GoPro as the company with the greatest camcorder sales in the US (Solomon par.12). The revenue of the company has been steadily increasing even as the company makes huge gains in the camcorder market.
This has translated to higher revenue for the company. Reports indicate that GoPro had revenue of $234million in 2011 and the figure more than tripled to $985million in 2013 (Landau par. 17). Forbes Magazine declares that GoPro is America’s “fastest-growing camera company” (Ryan par.1). The product sales for 2014 have already reached $1billion making GoPro the most successful camera company in the world.
GoPro has a number of competitors in the action camera market. These competitors can be categorized as brand competitors and generic competitors. Brand competitors are the companies that have created specialized action cameras like those produced by GoPro. The major brand competitors include Sony, Liquid Image, and Contour. The electronics giant Sony has introduced some products in 2012 that are aimed at competing directly with GoPro.
These include the Action Cam, which is a lightweight HD video camera specially designed for action sport. The camera is easily mounted and it has special sensors for enhancing low light performance. Contour is an action camera company that competes directly with GoPro. This company provides wide-angle HD cameras that can operate in high action environments.
The company’s best selling cameras are the ContourROAM 2 and Contour+2. Contour offers the advantage of enabling use underwater without the need for an extra case. Drift is a UK based action camera company that was started in 2010. The company provides high-quality HD cameras at an affordable price. These cameras have a wide-angle lens and high storage capacities.
The generic competitors include well-established camera makers such as Canon, Fujifilm, and Olympus. While these companies have not attempted to make specialized cameras as GoPro does, their generic products can be used for the same purpose. The companies have produced cameras with similar capabilities as action cameras. This makes the cameras appropriate for recording sporting activities, thus infringing on the niche market that GoPro targets.
While GoPro dominates the market for action camera sales, the above-named competitors have been making some gains. The gains can be attributed primarily to the pricing difference between GoPro and its rivals. GoPro cameras are often highly priced while the competitors in the market introduce devices that have the same specifications but at a lower cost.
GoPro has one subsidiary company, CineForm. This company, acquired by GoPro in 2011, specializes in the development of proprietary video codec. By acquiring the company, GoPro gained access to technology for efficiently compressing HD videos without degrading the quality of the HD or higher resolution media.
Value of Stock
Early in the year 204, GoPro announced its intention to go public. The shares of the company were attractive in the stock market since the company had shown constant growth in its revenues. In June, the company started trading in the shares market with GoPro shares opening at about $24 per share. Traders observed that GoPro valued itself much higher than traditional camera makers such as Canon and Nikon did.
However, the company justified these valuations by pointing to its explosive growth in recent years. GoPro was able to sell more than 20,000 shares and make close to half a billion dollars from its IPO. Since this IPO, the prices for GoPro stocks have risen phenomenally. As of 29 September 2014, GoPro’s shares had reached a record high of $90.94 per share (Strauss par.2). This represents a 280% increase making GoPro stocks some of the most profitable in the shares market.
Net Worth of Company
Forbes places the net worth of GoPro at $4.7 Billion (Strauss par.3). The sales of the company have passed the $1 billion mark and it’s market capitalization is at $11.5 billion. Strauss states that high capitalization makes GoPro the most successful camera company in the world. The success of the company has turned its founder and CEO into a billionaire whose net worth is estimated to be $2.3 billion.
This paper set out to provide an informative review GoPro, Inc. It began by highlighting the formation of the company and tracing its progress through the years. The paper has shown how the company has gained leadership in the camera market by providing high-quality products that fulfill the needs of a targeted market. In 12 years, GoPro has established itself as a market leader in action cameras. This company is now worth billions of dollars and its profitability is rising even as sales increase.
Landau, Joel. GoPro’s viral video marketing campaign turns it into top YouTube brand in the world. 22 Jul. 2014. Web. 1 Oct. 2014. <http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/gopro-marketing-turns-top-youtube-brand-article-1.1875573>.
Ryan, Mac. GoPro Evolution: From 35mm Film To America’s Fastest-Growing Camera Company. 3 April. 2013. Web. 1 Oct. 2014. <http://www.forbes.com/sites/ryanmac/2013/03/04/gopro-evolution-from-35mm-film-to-americas-fastest-growing-camera-company/>.
Solomon, Brian. GoPro’s Nick Woodman Becomes $2 Billion Man As Stock Shoots Higher. 30 Jun. 2014. Web. 2 Oct. 2014. <http://www.forbes.com/sites/briansolomon/2014/06/30/gopros-nick-woodman-becomes-2-billion-man-as-stock-shoots-higher/>.
Strauss, Gary. Focus on GoPro pushes stock to record highs. 29 Sept. 2014. Web. 2 Oct. 2014. <http://americasmarkets.usatoday.com/2014/09/29/focus-on-gopro-pushes-stock-to-new-high/>.
Woodman, Nicholas. A Letter from our Founder and CEO. 14 Jan. 2014. Web. 2 Oct. 2014. <http://gopro.com/about-us/>.