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GoPro is building a media empire

MarketWatch logo MarketWatch 2/6/2015 By Jennifer Booton, MarketWatch

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) — GoPro Inc. will increase its pace of deals to stream content over the next two years as it seeks to build a media empire and diversify beyond just cameras.

The company, which on Thursday announced a deal to stream a GoPro   channel on Roku devices starting this spring, told MarketWatch it is lining up additional streaming deals that it expects to announce in 2015 and 2016, but declined to be more specific.

GoPro is building a media empire© Provided by MarketWatch GoPro is building a media empire

“We have more deals in the works for 2015 and even 2016,” a spokesperson said.

The push into streaming comes as GoPro reported much stronger-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings on the back of robust sales of its Hero line of cameras during the key holiday period. The company said it shipped 2.4 million devices last quarter, surpassing Wall Street expectations and topping its shipments for all of 2012.

GoPro continues to explore “new and innovative approaches” to bring its content to consumers, a spokesperson said — and that means making streaming a bigger part of its business.

“There’s a natural evolution from devices to services that include a device,” said Roger Kay, a tech analyst and founder of Endpoint Technologies, a consulting firm. “If they can establish broad distribution for their content, it makes them stickier, gives them a longer-lasting grip on that market.”

That’s especially important as other companies try to muscle in on its turf. Apple Inc.  won a patent last month for its own “rugged” digital camera that it says has a better battery life than the GoPro and is less wind-resistant on moving objects, such as bicycles.

See also: Should GoPro investors fear Apple?

Streaming partnerships could open GoPro to the fast-growing digital-advertising market, giving it additional revenue sources and a much wider reach than it would just selling hardware.

So far, GoPro licensing deals have been a mere trickle. The company first got into streaming when it launched an in-flight entertainment channel on Virgin America in October 2013. Three months later, it started a streaming channel on Microsoft Corp.’s Xbox, but efforts were muted as GoPro prepared for an initial public offering.

Now that it has had three successful quarters as a public company, and has proved its popularity through impressive sales growth, the company is poised for a streaming resurgence.

In January, GoPro announced a streaming cannel on the LG Smart TV app. It then announced a deal with Vislink to enable broadcasters to live-stream GoPro content during big events. Imagine one day being able to watch an Olympic skier do a 180-degree turn on the half pipe live from the athlete’s perspective.

GoPro might one day be thought of as not just a camera maker, but as an all-in-one “extreme video solutions company” offering an array of intertwining hardware and software products, Kay said.

Shares of GoPro climbed 4.8% to $54.37 in Thursday trade and climbed another 3.9% to $56.50 in after-hours trade following the release of its earnings.

 

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