Despite what the market seems to indicate, GoPro (NASDAQ:GPRO) just reported stellar fourth-quarter results. Quarterly revenue climbed 75.4% year over year, to $633.9 million, while adjusted earnings per diluted share tripled to $0.99. GoPro's own guidance called for revenue in the range of $550 million to $580 million, and earnings per share of $0.65 to $0.69. Analysts, on average, were expecting earnings of just $0.70 per share on sales of $580.3 million.
GoPro shipped 2.4 million capture devices in Q4, bringing its total to a solid 5.2 million for the full-year 2014. It's evident that GoPro enjoyed sustained momentum from the tremendous October launches of its new products, which include an entry level HERO device priced at $129, and its premium HERO4 Silver and Black edition cameras that sell for $399 and $499, respectively.
On HERO4 strength, new media partnerships
GoPro specifically credited "favorable HERO4 product and channel mix" for both its strong revenue and better-than-expected gross margin at 48%, which was again well above the company's expected range of 43.5% to 44.5%. What's more, when all was said and done in 2014, the number of videos published on GoPro's YouTube Channel rose 71% over the prior year.
Views also increased 84%, and video minutes watched jumped more than 140% during the same period. And just prior to GoPro's earnings release, it announced a partnership to bring a new GoPro channel to Roku's streaming platform -- much in the same way it currently offers channels on LG Smart TVs, Microsoft's Xbox platform, and in-flight entertainment for Virgin America.
GoPro also highlighted its partnership with Vislink to enable affordable live-broadcast functionality through GoPro cameras. This capability was demoed both in coverage of the Winter X Games, and in the NHL All Star Weekend during the quarter.
Finally, GoPro didn't provide details on new products in the works, but investors should note research and development costs nearly doubled on a year-over-year basis, to $46.1 million. Wherever these R&D dollars are going, we can be sure GoPro isn't resting on its laurels when it comes to investing in the future.
On "disappointing" guidance, management turnover
Unfortunately, after initially jumping as much as 14% in Thursday's after-hours trading, GoPro stock gave up its gains, and traded as much as 15% lower when, during the subsequent conference call, management offered light earnings guidance. We should also keep in mind that shares of GoPro rose nearly 15% in the two weeks leading up to today's report, so the pullback seems to be merely giving up those gains.
Specifically for the current quarter, GoPro expects revenue of $330 million to $340 million, and earnings per share of $0.15 to $0.17. However, Wall Street was modeling lower first-quarter sales of $324.7 million, but wanted earnings at the high-end of GoPro's expected range.
It also didn't help that, in a separate SEC filing today, GoPro unexpectedly revealed on February 2, 2015, that chief operating officer Nina Richardson tendered her resignation effective as of February 27, 2015. No reason was listed for Richardson's departure, but investors should be careful not to jump to conclusions before GoPro elaborates on the situation.
Woodman summed up GoPro's current position nicely by saying:
We're feeling good. GoPro was one of the best-selling products this holiday, selling-in an average of 1,000 units per hour for the entire quarter. With this many new recruits to the GoPro movement, we're sure to see some incredible content in 2015.