There's no sugarcoating the fact that GoPro (NASDAQ:GPRO) is a highly speculative and risky growth stock. However, the recent sell-off last month, when shares of the mountable-camera maker plummeted more than 17%, creates an opportunity for long-term investors to grab a piece of what could be a rewarding media play down the road.
The stock has lost nearly 60% of its value since the start of 2015, with shares now trading around $24 apiece. That's quite a different story from where GoPro stock was trading a year ago, at around $98 a pop.
Increased competition in the action-camera space, weak quarterly earnings, and soft guidance for the holiday quarter is to blame for the recent pullback in the stock. However, the market's reaction appears overblown at this point. Let's take a closer look at why GoPro may still be a winning growth stock for long-term investors, despite near-term challenges.
A first time for everything
GoPro's third-quarter results sent investors running for the hills last month, as they were worse than many on the Street expected. Revenue spiked 43%, to $400 million year over year. However, that was below the company's expectations for revenue in the range of $430 million to $445 million. This also missed analyst estimates for revenue of $433 million in the period.
Additionally, earnings fell short in the quarter. GoPro reported a profit of $0.25 per share, which was below Wall Streets' expectations for third-quarter earnings per share of $0.29.
To be fair, this was the first time GoPro fell short of its guidance since becoming a publicly traded company. The misstep came largely at the hands of weak sales of its HERO4 camera. Nick Woodman, GoPro's founder and chief executive, admitted that they initially released the new compact camera at a price point that was too high ($399). In September, the company reduced the price of the device by $100, and has since seen an increase in sales of the product.
On top of this, GoPro's guidance for the upcoming holiday quarter added insult to injury. The company said it now expects fourth-quarter revenue in the range of $500 million to $550 million, representing a 17% decline from the same period a year ago. Together, these are the reasons GoPro's stock is being punished today. However, all of these setbacks have one thing in common: They are near-term challenges.
More than a camera maker
GoPro is one of the strongest brands on the planet today. The company's global audience is one of the strongest around, and growing at a breakneck pace. Not only is GoPro the top-ranked brand channel on YouTube, but also its YouTube Channel exceeded 1 billion views last month.
This consumer interest surrounding the brand creates a lucrative opportunity for GoPro to better monetize its user-generated content. The company launched GoPro Entertainment in an effort to do just that. On the recent conference call with shareholders, Woodman said, "We continue to believe that there is a strong correlation between the quality and quantity of our customer's shared content and the growth of our business, and with GoPro Entertainment, we're now taking a more aggressive approach to stimulating this aspect of our business."
Through its recently launched GoPro Rewards program, the company will reward people for contributing content for licensing to the GoPro community. The camera maker will award up to $5 million per year to GoPro content creators. This is one of the ways that GoPro is establishing itself as a media giant. The initiative is already off to a promising start, with content submissions up as much as 550% in just the first week since announcing the rewards program.
A major part of GoPro's strategy going forward will be the licensing of this user-generated content. "We expect GoPro Awards to also serve as a traffic content aggregator for GoPro Licensing," Woodman explained. Using the website licensing.gopro.com, ad agencies can license unique photo and video content from GoPro. Down the road, GoPro promises to share some of the revenue from content sales with the GoPro content creators.
This could be a major catalyst for the stock in the years ahead, because it would help diversify GoPro's revenue stream, which today is primarily reliant on hardware sales. Additionally, with the visionary leadership of founder Nick Woodman, it won't be long until GoPro has new innovative cameras on the market.
GoPro has also expanded its relationship with Google beyond simply streaming content through its YouTube channels. Google, which is now using the moniker Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG)(NASDAQ:GOOGL), teamed up with GoPro earlier this year to turn virtual reality into a consumer reality. GoPro is working on six (and eventually 16-camera) rigs that will help consumers capture VR content . In collaboration with GoPro, Google launched Jump, a virtual reality kit that will be compatible with GoPro cameras . Together, this partnership could usher in a brave new world of compelling content for GoPro's entertainment network as well as Google's YouTube channels.
Together, these things make a compelling case for investors to think long term, and own the stock despite the recent sell-off. At around $24 per share today, GoPro's stock is trading near its initial public offering price. Shares of GoPro are finally attractively priced, with a price-to-earnings-growth rate of 0.75 -- one of the lowest PEGs in the industry.