GoPro Inc (NASDAQ:GPRO) stock’s huge downturn last year needs little introduction. More recently, however, it’s making a strong comeback. In the past three months, GoPro stock has climbed almost 25%.
The best part is that there are quite a few catalysts that could keep the momentum going for the company.
Is This a Game-Changer for GPRO Stock
Through the lens of GoPro’s action cameras, viewers got to see some amazing footage from parachuting and wingsuit flying. This time around, though, the company is going to find the wow factor in the virtual reality (VR) industry.
For content creators, GoPro has introduced two impressive VR-ready camera rigs.
The first one is a 16-camera spherical array named “Odyssey.” The device was introduced last September and carries a steep price tag of $15,000. Moreover, you have to be a professional content creator or producer to be able to buy one.
But there’s more. In an effort to bring a less expensive 360-degree camera to consumers, GoPro has introduced a synchronized six-camera spherical array called “Omni.” The company revealed the pricing of the Omni camera on Monday, April 18 and also started taking preorders. (Source: “GoPro to Showcase Full Suite of Professional Products at NAB 2016,” GoPro Inc, April 17, 2016.)
At $4,999.99, the Omni camera isn’t exactly cheap either. Still, its one-third of what an Odyssey would cost. It also has six GoPro “Hero4” black cameras, as well as the hardware and software necessary to convert the footage into 360-degree videos. If you already have six GoPro cameras, you can order the frame separately for $1,499.99.
Of course, there are probably more content consumers than content creators. Many of us want to experience the VR world, but maybe not as many would actually get a VR camera. So it’s important for GoPro to tap into the consumer market for VR.
Many industry giants are launching VR headsets. GoPro is not one of them. Instead, the company just introduced “GoPro VR”—a platform for viewing and sharing 360-degree videos. GoPro’s VR videos platform will be available on the Web, as a mobile app, and as a service available to VR headsets.
How did the company manage to build all this? Well, other than its expertise in making action cameras, GoPro’s VR presence also benefited from a major acquisition.
Last April, GoPro acquired French software company Kolor. Kolor specializes in technologies that stitch images and videos into interactive media. The company’s solutions can combine multiple photographs into panoramic images, and stitch multiple footages into 360-degree videos. (Source: “Let’s Get Spherical…Spherical: GoPro Acquires Virtual Reality Start-Up Kolor,” GoPro, Inc., April 28, 2015.)
Combining its versatile action cameras with Kolor’s spherical media software, GoPro managed to bring out two VR-ready camera rigs within the first year of acquisition.
The VR industry is one of the hottest fields in tech today, with growth expected to come exponentially in the next few years. According to Digi-Capital, the virtual and augmented reality market could bring as much as $120 billion in revenue by 2020. (Source: “Augmented/Virtual Reality Revenue Forecast Revised to Hit $120 Billion by 2020,” Digi-Capital, January 2016.)
The Bottom Line on GPRO Stock
Without a doubt, competition is going to be intense in the virtual reality business. However, on the content creation side, GoPro’s brand name, camera technology, and footage-combining solutions give it a solid competitive advantage. For content consumption, GoPro’s VR videos platform could offer monetization opportunities down the road.
After a huge tumble in GPRO stock last year, it’s nice to know that the company has finally found something to keep its growth engine running.