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GoPro warns investors of a rough year ahead for the company

GoPro warns investors of a rough year ahead for the company


The camera company swings from profit to loss in Q4 of 2015

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Just weeks after a round of layoffs, GoPro has posted the results of its final quarter of 2015. The company earned $436.6 million in revenue during Q4 of 2015, a 31 percent drop from the company's fourth quarter of 2014. In addition, GoPro is projecting revenue of $1.35-1.5 billion for this year, a drop from $1.6 billion in 2015. GoPro's stock dropped as much as 15 percent in after hours trading.

The numbers aren't much of a surprise, because at the same time that GoPro announced the workforce cut, it downgraded its guidance for the fourth quarter of 2015 from about $500-$550 million in revenue to $435 million. The company justified that figure by citing "lower than anticipated sales of its capture devices" in the final quarter of 2015, which is also not completely surprising. The final quarter of 2014 was a massive one for GoPro because, in addition to being the holiday season, it was the first full quarter where customers had a chance to buy the flagship Hero 4 Black and Silver cameras.

GoPro also announced today that CFO Jack Lazar is leaving the company. He will be replaced by Brian McGee, who joined GoPro in 2015 after working at Qualcomm. "The past two years have been incredibly rewarding and I am honored to have worked with Nick and the rest of the GoPro team," Lazar said in a statement.

GoPro's stock started struggling late last summer, not long after the company's only new camera announced in 2015 — the Hero 4 Session — apparently sold poorly enough to force GoPro to cut the price in half before the holidays. The stock currently sits at an all-time low for the company, which went public in June of 2014.

GoPro announced in its earnings report that it shipped 6.6 million cameras in 2015, which is up 27 percent from 2014. But the company only shipped about 2 million during the fourth quarter holiday season, which was down from the 2.385 million shipped in Q4 of 2014.

"We’re leading our customers into this dark forest with no path out"

GoPro CEO Nick Woodman also believes there's another reason for GoPro's poor performance. "We recognize the need to develop software solutions that make it easier for our customers to offload, access and edit their GoPro content," Woodman said in the earnings report.

Woodman's admitted in the past that the company is working on automated editing software, which could be important because as much as people like using GoPros, they also hate digging through all the footage. "We’re leading our customers into this dark forest with no path out," Woodman said at a Hero 4 Session press event last summer. Back then, it sounded like a solution was still far off. "It’s going to come in stages," Woodman said "It’s near enough that we’ve disclosed we’re in Alpha, but it’s far enough away because we’re in Alpha."

On a call that followed the earnings report, Woodman pledged that this fix is coming soon. He said that the recent layoffs allowed the company to reallocate resources in order "to accelerate software and hardware development." The result of this? A new desktop editing and sharing experience called "GoPro for Desktop" that will be released in March, and then an "entirely new editing experience" following that, which will allow "strikingly good edits in a matter of minutes," according to Woodman.

Later in the call, Woodman also confirmed that the Hero 5 will be sold this year, while announcing that the Hero, Hero+, and Hero+ LCD will be discontinued in April. We also found out that the company plans to start selling its quadcopter in the first half of 2016, and its 360-degree camera during the summer. GoPro will also be continuing its push into virtual reality. In the meantime, the company continues to staunch the bleeding of hardware sales with media partnerships — in the last week alone, GoPro announced big deals with the PGA and the NHL.

Additional reporting provided by Alex Brokaw.