GoPro (GPRO 1.27%) shares popped about 5% last Thursday, after Cowen analyst Robert Stone initiated coverage of the stock with an "outperform" rating and a $76 price target. This 12-month price target represents a value about 28% higher than where shares are trading now. While Stone cited a number of reasons to be bullish on the stock, here are some of the most notable catalysts the analyst believes merit a higher valuation.
An expanding demographic
Initially, GoPro's primary audience was mostly active males in their 20s and 30s. But the demographic of interested buyers is expanding rapidly. And this trend looks poised to continue. GoPro's widening appeal -- particularly to families -- is one of the primary reasons for Stone's bullish outlook for the company.
"[W]e believe a growing lifestyle capture category is most likely to be prevalent among households with children," Stone said in a note to investors.
In analyzing relevant addressable markets, the analyst cited 44.3 million families in the U.S. with a head of household aged 20 to 64 with children. Acknowledging that this group probably has significant overlap with GoPro's primary audience of active males in their 20s and 30s, Stone narrowed it down further, citing 33 million U.S. families in which the head of household is between 35 and 64 years old.
Stone also notes further room for penetration in the 18- to 34-year-old demographic, as well as continued opportunity in international expansion.
Software, services, and content
GoPro management has continually emphasized that the company plans to be more than a camera company. Indeed, management refuses to refer to itself as a camera company, preferring to instead use the description "capture company."
Why the differentiation? GoPro believes that its business is driven by its content more than by its cameras. While this belief is partly due to the company's future ambitions to monetize content and push further toward software and services, it's already fair to say content has been absolutely critical to the company's success to date. The content GoPro's cameras have enabled has sparked thousands of viral videos. And these videos essentially turn customers into brand evangelists.
Going forward, GoPro wants to become even more dependent on content as a driver of business. The company has already launched GoPro Licensing, aiming to monetize content. The portal gives global advertising brands and agencies ways to license premier video and images made by GoPro users. Users granted access to upload content can earn commissions when their content is used.
Naturally, GoPro also has a considerable opportunity to make money selling software to help its customers create better content.
Stone estimates that GoPro's non-hardware revenue will increase from less than $1 million in 2015 to $217 million by 2019, or about 6% of total revenue.
While GoPro doesn't make any of its own drones yet, management has indicated that it plans to launch its first drone video capture device next year. This is a "natural extension" of GoPro's business, Stone notes.
"We model drone revenue of $48MM in 2016E, rising at a three-year [compound average growth rate] of ~26%, to $95 [million] in 2019E," Stone said.
Interestingly, however, despite how enticing each of these catalysts sounds, GoPro investors don't need to wait for the more forward-looking bets, like hopes for GoPro's content, software and services, or drones to catch on with customers, for revenue to grow rapidly. The company's core camera business is already growing rapidly and showing no sign of a slowdown. Perhaps this is why, when GoPro CEO Nicholas Woodman was asked during the company's Q2 call about which of its growth opportunities it is most excited about, he said, "I think we are very optimistic about the growth of our core business -- the capture devices and accessories -- as our bread and butter."
GoPro's revenue soared 71.7%, year over year, in Q2, driven by growth in sales of cameras and accessories. Putting together the company's rapidly growing core business with forward-looking businesses such as content, software and services, and drones, its revenue looks poised to continue to grow at rapid rates over the long haul.