Gopro Hero

GoPro's revenue suffered in Q4 amid more price protection charges from the HERO4 Session, Credit: GoPro,

GoPro (NASDAQ:GPRO) may have given investors a heads-up when it reduced fourth-quarter 2015 revenue guidance almost three weeks ago, but it's still receiving no sympathy from the market following the release of its official report on Wednesday evening.

Shares of the action-camera maker fell more than 9% in after-hours trading after it revealed quarterly revenue declined 31.1% year over year to $436.6 million. To GoPro's credit, that's actually slightly better than the 31.4% decline (to $435 million) it predicted last month. But based on generally accepted accounting principles, that also translated to a net loss of nearly $34.5 million, or $0.25 per diluted share. On an adjusted basis -- which means excluding items like stock-based compensation and acquisition costs -- GoPro's net loss came in at a narrower $11.4 million, or $0.08 per share.

To be fair -- and just it warned last month, by the way -- GoPro's top line also included a $21 million reduction related to price protection from its decision to reduce the price of its HERO4 Session by another $100 to $199 in December, marking the camera's second price drop since launching five months earlier. And remember, GoPro absorbed a similar hit last quarter with $19 million in price protection charges and market development funds resulting from the first price reduction.

Meanwhile, fourth-quarter adjusted gross margin came in at 29.6%, down from 48% in the same year-ago period, and below GoPro's latest estimate for adjusted gross margin in the range of 34.5% to 35.5%.

The culprit? GoPro blamed a $57 million charge to cost of revenue related to obsolete tooling, excess purchase order commitments, and excess inventory. That's well above its previous estimate for these charges to be in the range of $30 million to $35 million, which GoPro says is due to "our subsequent decision to simplify GoPro's product offering to consist of HERO4 Black, HERO4 Silver, and HERO4 Session."

It wasn't all bad
According to NPD data, GoPro's Q4 digital camera/camcorder unit share rose 180 basis points over last year's fourth quarter to 21.3% -- even if that seems to indicate that the size of the camera/camcorder pie is shrinking.

In addition, GoPro continued to account for six of the top 10 products (including the No. 1 spot) on a dollar basis in the category, as well as six of the top 10 (also including No. 1) in accessory unit sales. 

GoPro also stated that combined revenue in Europe and Asia rose 49% over last year's fourth quarter and -- without offering much detail -- confirmed that China remained a top 10 market for the company.

It's all about perspective(?)
GoPro CEO Nick Woodman pointed out despite the year-over-year drop, this technically represented the second-highest quarter for revenue in GoPro's history. In addition, GoPro still managed to achieve 16% year-over-year revenue growth when all was said and done in 2015. GoPro did start the year strong, demolishing analysts' expectations for growth with each of its fourth-quarter 2014, first-quarter 2015, and second-quarter 2015 reports.

"However," Woodman went on, "growth slowed in the second half of the year, and we recognize the need to develop software solutions that make it easier for our customers to offload, access, and edit their GoPro content."

It's no coincidence that Woodman chose those words. Recall that in December, Morgan Stanley analyst James Faucette not only voiced concerns over consumers' "weak response" to the HERO4 Session but also speculated that the issue wouldn't resolve itself anytime soon because "key challenges of off-loading, storage, and editing content have not been adequately addressed for a product intended to be 'taken anywhere to record everything.'"

And that criticism was fair enough. GoPro did, after all, recategorize itself as a "media company" before its IPO, signaling the start of the multi-year effort to more effectively capitalize on the millions of hours of content collected by users of its capture devices.

But that's not to say GoPro hasn't made any progress on the media front; last summer, it launched the GoPro Licensing Portal to help professionals search for and request likeness rights and copyrights from a vast library of premium content, and then followed up by unveiling a slick new app boasting vastly improved trim-and-share features.

Meanwhile, GoPro's mobile app was downloaded 2.75 million times in the fourth quarter, bringing cumulative downloads to roughly 24 million. In addition, GoPro Studio was installed almost 1.7 million times, bringing cumulative installs for the platform to 15 million.

Nonetheless, Woodman's admission clearly shows that the company has more work to do before consumers will truly embrace its entire ecosystem of products as a one-stop shop to manage their content.

Looking forward
For the current quarter, GoPro anticipates revenue of $160 million to $180 million, down more than 53% from the first quarter of 2015. In part, this seems to be a function of both weak near-term demand for GoPro's products and its decision to sacrifice sales of lower-priced, lower-margin products by narrowing its product offering to the HERO4 Black, Silver, and Session. Even so, adjusted gross margin for the quarter is anticipated to be 36%, plus or minus 100 basis points, and adjusted EBITDA is expected to be a loss of $95 million, plus or minus $2.5 million.

Finally, GoPro also offered its initial guidance for full-year 2016 revenue in the range of $1.35 billion to $1.5 billion, down from the $1.62 billion it achieved in 2015.

Of course, there's always the possibility that GoPro is under-promising with the intention of over-delivering, especially given the impending launch of its new Karma drone, and a widely expected refresh of its camera lineup later in the year.

But as it stands, these are painful results from what many investors rightly viewed as a high-flying growth stock less than seven months ago, and it's hard to blame the market for bidding GoPro stock down to fresh lows.

Steve Symington has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends GoPro. 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.