back to article GoPro exits drone market and slashes jobs amid sales warning

Action camera maker GoPro is exiting the consumer drone market and slashing 254 roles after issuing a sales warning. GoPro issued a sales warning for its fourth quarter results of $340m (£250m) for the three months to end of December - down 37 per cent on what it previously turned over for the same period last year. It has not …

  1. TonyJ Silver badge

    The thing is they do make great cameras but these days they are so incredibly expensive compared to alternatives.

    My dive buddy and I have have a Hero 4 after our 3 broke it's mount and sank - but there's no point in trying to use it on a dive in 4K or with the screen on or without an extra battery as the cold waters will drain the thing in minutes.

    Also compare the knock off models you can pick up for 30 or 40 quid that will do just as good a job and that you don't care quite so much if they are lost or damaged and you can see why their sales are slipping.

    Even the mid-range brands you can pick up are half the price.

    So not really a surprise when they say they didn't sell at the same price as when they launched, but they started to when they dropped the price...

    1. K Silver badge

      Hit the nail on the head, with the cheaper knock offs.

      They have a good brand and reputation, but most consumers would not consider this justification for paying 6-10x more - I paid £60 for a decent generic. works perfect for my few ski trips, but cheap enough that if it breaks I don't care too much.

      But I hope they manage to get past this.. also sympathies to those who have lost their jobs.

    2. stu 4

      They are vastly overpriced I agree. I've been using Gopro since the first HD model back in.. I dunno 2010 ?

      But since they added 4k with the gopro4, it's been downhill. Up till then, if you required quality you went with gopro - consumer or professional.

      I think a lot of pros stuck with the 4s for the same reasons.

      The cheap ones vary between utterly terrible and ok - but of course with Chinese bullshit packaging/claims you don't know what you are getting.

      A few mid-rangers were reasonable, but few ever got the quality of the gopro4 - close though, and frankly that's all most folk need. Most folk started with gopro as the only horse in town, and migrated to cheaper horses (donkeys?) when they became available. The pro market can take the premium pricing IF they get something for it, for they've got nothing useful really in the 5 or 6 they wanted - hence sony stepping in with products like the RX0.

      As an excuse to show what even a feckit amateur can achieve with a gopro, here's ben nevis last year - in 4k.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9n44SO2a2v8&t=1s

  2. Zbig

    Lost opportunity

    No "Karma is a bitch" headline? That's a lost opportunity if I've ever seen one!

  3. msknight Silver badge

    I use the Hero 4 for vblogging. The Hero 5 got rid of the expansion port in favour of waterproofing. Bad move, IMHO.

    I tell you one thing.... a few adjustments would make it appeal more to the vlogging market...

    1) A flip screen so you can see yourself while shooting

    2) A simple audio level meter so you've got confidence that it's recording audio

    3) A separate power input to the microphone input,so you can power the camera externally beyond the battery limit while using an external mic

    4) I'd easily forgive an extra 1cm all sides to take a slightly larger battery and slightly bigger screen.

    Not that this will happen, though.

    1. AndyS

      mrsknight - you want to take a tiny, robust action cam, and add a flip screen, additional outputs, additional ports, and increase its footprint by nearly 4 fold (adding 2 cm to every dimension increases volume by 380%).

      Something tells me an actioncam, Gopro or not, isn't the camera you need.

      1. msknight Silver badge
        Happy

        Actually, 1cm all sides, not 2. Only one extra port, to separate mic and power. And it does need a little extra battery life, IMHO... especially when they wiped out the extension port, which I currently use to add an extended power source (which also obliterates the touch screen.) And it's not mrsknight, it's MsKnight :-) Actually, Ms M.S.Knight... but that's a whole 'nother story and a user name of msmsknight which would be a little more awkward.

  4. SVV Silver badge

    Oh no....

    If they go bust, what are they going to be able to "drone" on about on The Gadget Show and Click Online?

    1. Korev Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Oh no....

      They do GoPro on about them...

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Leaving drone market...

    ...hands up who didn't see that coming..anyone, c'mon....must be someone out there?

    Yes you at the back..OK anyone who doesn't work for GoPro?

  6. kmac499

    Go Pro or Faux Pro

    I've got a faux pro (can't even remember what the brand is.) It's HD, the case uses a GoPro style mount, the battery is removable

    It also does timelapse and wifi to my tablet.

    it cost £30.

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: Go Pro or Faux Pro

      Same, my daughter who plays at video blogging with her friends asked for one. I got her a £30 from China and it is more than good enough.

    2. Jo_seph_B

      Re: Go Pro or Faux Pro

      I've got one of those too. Battery lasts about 20 minutes and the quality is poor. I use it for shots that risk the camera, for everything else the quality of the GoPro is way beyond all the cheaper quality cameras. But it depends what your using it for. Want professional quality shots then the GoPro is right up there.

      You do get what you pay for, but I'm with the rest of you that its far too expensive for most and this is why sales are dipping. I managed to pick up a couple of Hero 5's around Christmas for £250. Which is far more realistic price point imo.

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: Go Pro or Faux Pro

        I'm surprised at only 20 minutes. Our one lasts over an hour. We also did a 3 hour time lapse of the snow melting no problem.

        Quality is about 90% of the GoPro, for about 10% of the price so the GoPro doesn't make a case for itself. Nobody watching this stuff gets in close to pick at and scrutinise the video quality.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Garmin - Competition is tough

    The Garmin VIRB 360 really pushed GoPro out of the spotlight, and prime marketing spots in several key action sports. Was a time when all the track previews were done with GoPro, now they are Garmin. With that, GoPro commercials either faded away or looked pale compared to what we seen on the preview.

    The knock-off stuff is real, but people are still willing to pay the higher price point if they are getting value. They need to get better at their own game if they want to survive.

    1. Korev Silver badge

      Re: Garmin - Competition is tough

      Maybe true for some sports, but in mountain biking everyone still seems to use GoPro

  8. imanidiot Silver badge

    Makes me wonder

    What the heck they were thinking in the first place. I really don't see (and have never seen) how they thought they'd compete in the drone market given the products already out there. Their Karma was already an inferior product on most counts when it came out. GoPro brought something new to the table with their camera's and it gave them an edge. Shame they haven't managed to hold on to that.

  9. depicus

    When they went on a "milk our current customers with this online crap" making you create an account and log in to use your own camera you knew they were in trouble.

  10. Nerrad

    Perhaps because the Hero 5 audio with the door off sounds like complete and utter toilet?

  11. YARR

    A shame but not suprising

    It's a shame when management make such an abrupt decision to exit the market, throwing away all that development experience, rather than attempt to become more competitive. More so if they make the decision just as a new model is near release. Great news for their competitors though.

    With over 1000 employees for just a couple of product lines (the manufacturing is probably outsourced), it's not hard to see why they're so expensive. I expect their cheaper competitors have a much smaller team allowing them to significantly undercut them on price. The business model of making a cheaper, inferior product for a wider market and iterating the design every year to copy the innovators seems to be more successful. Perhaps more western companies should adopt this approach and do away with the expensive overheads of research and advertising?

    Rather than sully an established brand, introduce a new no-name brand for the cheaper product. If your no-name brand attracts a bad reputation for one product iteration, just invent another throwaway no-name brand the next year. Cheapness always sells.

  12. ecofeco Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    The drone market was saturated years ago.

    See title.

    It's all over except the tweaking.

    1. YARR
      Thumb Down

      Re: The drone market was saturated years ago.

      Not the market in Spark-a-like fold-up, sub-250g GPS-stabilised drones with integrated gimbal and better than HD cameras. The sub 250g market is exempt from new regulations, so is likely to attract many replacement purchases.

      1. Steve K Silver badge

        Re: The drone market was saturated years ago.

        Can you do all that for 250g or under?

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: The drone market was saturated years ago.

          Can you do all that for 250g or under?

          I can't. But there are plenty of very brilliant product engineers in China.

  13. Shart Tank

    It was clear they were going to fail when they went for drones instead of a next gen camera.

    1. imanidiot Silver badge

      They do have a next gen 360 degree camera in the works, and from what I've been told it's a brilliant product currently led down by a less than optimal toolchain. But that it was rushed to market so the toolchain is still improving. And one of the reasons the GoPro is so popular with the pro's is good support and a good toolchain with better tools and easier corrections for everything compared to the competition.

  14. stu 4

    fix

    "faces margin challenges in an extremely competitive aerial market. Furthermore, there's seems to be no market for a substandard piece of shit that falls out the sky and has the same number of 'smart features' as our president, at the same price as the best drones out there"

  15. HenryM

    Not surprised, the GoPro Karmah, when it came out, was already an inferior product compared to the DJI Mavic.

    On top of that, it also had some design faults which caused it to fall out from the sky.

    As for the camera, it's just too expensive for some perceived extra quality.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I brought in several models ago

    Its sad when you have a good idea and execute it well only to be in competition with all the people copying you with similar a looking product.

    But would you trust the footage of your suicidal stunt being missed due to a shoddy cheap knock off?

    Be sure that the coroner and your loved ones can at least get to see what the hell you were trying to achieve.

    1. rdhood

      Re: I brought in several models ago

      "But would you trust the footage of your suicidal stunt being missed due to a shoddy cheap knock off?"

      I have been using a "shoddy cheap knockoff" for a year. I guarantee that 99/100 could not tell the diff in footage between this and a gopro. Yes, I would trust a shoddy cheap knock off.

  17. James 29

    I think for me when they changed the apps to not be a simple remote control but forced logins to get you hooked to their online services was the last straw.

    I'll never buy one again

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      tbh this bit bugged me and I have even forgotten the login and password I set. I assumed it was to tag me to any horrible murders I commit and document .

  18. rdhood

    Knock offs...

    This past year, the TRUE 4k knockoffs came out... using the same chipsets as gopro... for about $100. Virtually the same camera specs in the same form factor. GoPro is losing the action cam market. They really can't compete with products that are nearly the same but cost 25% as much.

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