GoPro’s holiday sales were a bust: That’s the gist of the company’s latest earnings release, which detailed a 31 percent decline in year-over-year sales for the quarter.
GoPro generated $436.6 million in revenue in its Q4 of 2015, compared to $633.9 million in the same quarter a year ago. This led to a net loss of $44.5 million, compared to net income of $122.2 million a year ago. This equals a loss of $0.08 per share, compared to income of $0.99 a year ago, on a non-adjusted basis.
All of this didn’t come as a surprise to investors. GoPro already broke the bad news to the markets last month by releasing preliminary results for Q4 and the entire year of 2015. The company at the time blamed the declining sales on a retail slow-down as well as the effect of a price reduction for its newest camera, the HERO4 Session.
GoPro founder and CEO Nick Woodman nonetheless tried to paint the results in a positive light, pointing out that Q4 was “the second highest revenue quarter in the company’s history,” as well as that full-year 2015 revenue was still 15 percent above 2014 numbers. GoPro shipped 6.6 million cameras in 2015, according to Woodman, which brings the total amount of cameras shipped to 20 million.
But Woodman also admitted that the company has work to do, and pointed in particular to plans to invest in media editing software to make GoPro cameras more useful to consumers. “The problem is that it is still to hard to offload, access and edit GoPro content,” Woodman said. The company aims to release a new “GoPro for desktop” app in March, and a new “Hero 5” camera later this year.
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GoPro is also looking to simplify its product offering to just three cameras in the coming months. “When you give the consumer too many choices, you confuse them,” Woodman said. Under this new approach, which will be effective in April, the Session 4 will become the company’s cheapest camera, selling for $199.
Other products on the horizon: The company’s Karma drone will start selling in the first half of this year. A virtual reality (VR) camera will be available this summer. This is separate from the partnership with Google, which involves a 16-camera rig dubbed Odyssey. Executives said Wednesday that this project is also on track to get into the hands of producers later this year.
As part of the earnings release, GoPro also announced that it is getting a new chief financial officer. Brian McGee, who joined the company last year, will take over the role from current CFO Jack Lazar next month. And the company released much more conservative guidance for Q1, forecasting revenue of $160-180 million. Analysts had expected 287 million. Coincidentally, the company won’t release any quarterly guidance anymore going forward, with executives arguing that an annual guidance better represents the way GoPro used to operate before its IPO.
This could lead to renewed pressure from investors to focus on core products. GroPro has been working on significant inroads into content production, hiring executives from HBO and Hulu to strike deals with Hollywood and built out in-house content production. Last month, the company appointed former MSG and Current TV exec Ocean MacAdams to lead its entertainment division after the departure of GoPro Entertainment SVP Zander Lurie.
Executives said Wednesday that they wanted to continue to invest in content, in part to promote the brand, but eventually also to generate revenue with it.“It’s something that’s always in our mind,” Lazar said with regards to content monetization. He cautioned that it won’t have any immediate aspect on revenues, but added: “We still seem long-term opportunities there.”