GoPro Inc's (NASDAQ:GPRO) has struggled to inspire users to buy new action cameras over the last three years, mainly because it was making little more than incremental improvements to devices. Stabilization improved, as did the resolution of images, but the core challenge of offloading content from the camera, editing it, and uploading it to social media has always been harder than simply taking a picture on a smartphone. With smartphones being so readily available and easily connected to social media, GoPro has always needed to make the process of capturing and uploading content easier.
With the Hero7 Black, GoPro is taking a big step forward by adding live streaming to Facebook, Twitch, YouTube, and Vimeo. Easy-to-use live streaming is finally here on a GoPro camera.
Live-streaming is a big deal for GoPro
GoPro's differentiation has always been the durability of its cameras, the places you can mount them, and the unique images these mounts can generate. Whether it's on a helmet, a drone, or mounted to a dog harness, GoPro Hero cameras can capture images smartphones simply can't. What has always been missing was an easy way to share that unique content with friends and family. GoPro Plus, the automatic cloud backup of images, and automatically generated QuickStories have made some sharing easier, but live-streaming takes GoPro to a whole new level.
Being able to live-stream GoPro content will put the camera on a somewhat level playing field with smartphones. The downside is that the Hero 7 Black camera needs to be connected wirelessly to a smartphone to stream live. But that may be a small price to pay to stream GoPro images live.
GoPro now does it all -- at a great price
After adding voice controls, stabilization, GPS, and slow-motion options in recent years, GoPro's Hero 7 Black now does it all. There aren't any major flaws in the company's offering, and the live-streaming option is something that could entice existing customers to upgrade this year.
From a price standpoint, GoPro seems to have figured out where customers see its cameras as a compelling value. Hero7 Black is $399, with Silver and White models costing $299 and $199 respectively. A $100 off discount on the Hero7 Black for GoPro trade-ins could entice even more customers to upgrade. Even an early Hero camera will qualify for the trade-in, which would bring the cost of a Hero 7 Black down to $299, a reasonable price for what customers are getting.
Most of GoPro's sales come during the holiday season, which is why I'll be watching the next two quarters very closely. If a strong camera line-up and good pricing don't inspire customers to buy a new GoPro camera, the company may not have much hope for a recovery. But if the Hero7 lineup takes off, the stock could be a great value for investors. A lot is riding on how interested people are in taking their GoPro live.