It is easy to look at GoPro (NASDAQ:GPRO) today and jump to the conclusion that the stock is overpriced. GoPro shares are now trading around an all-time high of nearly $78 a pop, and the stock is up more than 166% since the company's initial public offering in June. However, one thing many critics aren't taking into consideration is that GoPro is much more than a camera maker. Investing in high-growth stocks such as GoPro takes patience and the ability to ignore pricey valuations, but in the long run, these can be some of the most rewarding stocks available to investors. Here's why GoPro is well positioned to be the next big growth stock.
Capitalizing on content
What started out as a hardware business that made mountable and wearable cameras is now morphing into a full-blown media company. By leveraging consumer-generated content on its GoPro Network, the best-selling camera brand is quickly growing into a global media powerhouse that might eventually take on Google's YouTube. Google's gross revenue from YouTube was around $3.5 billion last year, according to estimates from Business Insider.
Following a similar path to Google could create a lucrative new revenue stream for the company. GoPro's chief financial officer, Jack Lazar told JPMorgan recently that it would begin monetizing this media by licensing the content users upload to its site. User-generated content has come a long way from the shaky videos of years past. Today, this type of content is setting the stage for a new age in advertising and marketing.
Thanks to the rise of social media, advertisers need content that is equal parts relatable and shareable -- GoPro's user-generated content fits the bill beautifully. GoPro's customers shared over 2.8 years of video content on YouTube in 2013 specifically mentioning GoPro in the title. Additionally, in the first quarter of 2014, YouTube recorded more than 6,000 uploads of GoPro content per day, and more than one billion people viewed GoPro content on YouTube during that three-month period.
This creates a massive opportunity for GoPro to monetize its user-generated content. The company recently signed a licensing agreement with Virgin America, which means travelers can now watch an exclusive GoPro channel while flying on Virgin airlines. Additionally, other deals like this are already in the works, including a plan to bring its GoPro channel to Microsoft's Xbox Live platform.
Creating a media and software empire
GoPro is moving into the software business these days as well. With services like its GoPro Templates, users can easily edit and share their footage via social media. This should help incentivize customers to continue creating and sharing compelling content through the GoPro Network. The initial response to these software platforms has been overwhelmingly positive. The company's GoPro Studio, for example, has been downloaded more than four million times, while the GoPro mobile app has been downloaded more than six million times. All of this bodes well for GoPro's ability to generate strong profits in the years ahead.
On top of this, there's also the upcoming holiday shopping season to consider. The company is reportedly set to release its GoPro Hero 4 camera next month, which should fuel sales during the all-important holiday season. In fact, "last October's launch of the Hero3+ boosted fourth-quarter unit shipments by more than 40% year over year and helped the company deliver record sales and profits for that period," according to The Wall Street Journal.
Together, these things indicate that GoPro is still in the early stages of its growth story, despite the recent run-up in its stock price. True, the stock trades at a rich 71 times next year's earnings. However, if GoPro proves it can efficiently monetize its massive amounts of user-generated content, then investors could see significant upside from here.
Tamara Rutter has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.