- GoPro has launched its first 360-degree video camera, the GoPro Omni.
- Initial sentiment about the camera appears to be quite good.
- But will the Omni be enough to reverse GoPro's dwindling sales?
It's been a number of months since GoPro (NASDAQ:GPRO) launched a consumer-level product, the last being the HERO4 Session which was released last summer. But now the company has come out with the GoPro Omni, an impressive professional immersive video camera system. Omni meshes together six of GoPro's action cameras into an aluminum rig that can stitch together 360-degree videos which look quite stunning. The entire system will retail at a princely $5,000 while a rig-only product will be available for $1,500.
The Omni can capture spectacular 8K videos, something that many high-end VR systems would be hard-pressed to achieve. Further, the camera can produce high-definition flat videos that appear to pan and zoom when the user picks the part they want to show. The system is ideal for creating high-quality 360-degree videos that can be viewed on VR headsets such as Facebook's (NASDAQ:FB) Oculus Rift and HTC's Vive.
The sentiment on GoPro stock has been improving as explained in this article here.
More About The GoPro Omni
Although the camera is not a mass-consumer offering, initial consumer sentiment on the Omni appears to be quite good. Nothing from the competition offers a complete package the way Omni does. Although Samsung Electronics (OTC:SSNLF) recently launched a low-end 360-degree camera that goes for $349, it's video quality just can't compare to Omni's. $5,000 might sound like quite a lot of money but video and photo professionals actually spend considerably more than that on a DSLR full-frame camera. The Omni offers an affordable way for professional videographers to get into the burgeoning field of 360-degree video and virtual reality. Quoting GoPro:
"Omni is an end-to-end content creation ecosystem that, by accelerating the time from capture to publish, will allow content creators to capture and publish more, higher-quality content."
But will the Omni be enough to reverse the fortunes for a stock that is down 70% over the past 52 weeks?
GoPro on the right track but needs more than Omni
GoPro appears to be on the right track with its latest offering. The new camera is being hailed as the finest in its class, and proves that GoPro remains one of the most innovative action video camera manufacturer. Additionally, the new camera helps diversify GoPro's product line and proves that the company is not a one-trick pony.
But as impressive as the GoPro Omni is, it probably won't be enough to reverse GoPro's dwindling sales. There is growing evidence that there's strong demand for low-end 360-degree video camera's such as the Samsung Gear 360 camera and Ricoh Theta S which sells for $369, or about $100 cheaper than GoPro's top-of-the-line cameras. It's, however, not very likely that the ultra-high end of the market that GoPro is targeting with the Omni is anywhere near as big.
One big advantage though that the Omni has over its cheaper competitors is that it produces excellent quality still images and videos whereas Gear 360 and Ricoh Theta S are not quite as good at capturing high quality videos. And, the market for immersive videos is growing. One big reason why this market has in the past lagged behind lies in the way 360-degree videos are made. Early 360-degree cameras were basically rigs that bunched together multiple cameras that were used to capture views from different angles and the individual shots then stitched together by a video editor. The process of stitching together these videos was an onerous one that could take days or even weeks. The latest consumer-grade 360-degree cameras are however small enough to tote around and have eliminated much of the stitching work.
Other product releases the key for GoPro stock
The market for ultra-high end 360-degree cameras such as the Omni might not be big at the moment, but is likely to grow in the coming years. Over the short-term, GoPro's fortunes are likely to be dictated by upcoming product launches including the HERO5 camera and Karma drone, both of which are expected to hit the market later this year.
The sentiment for GoPro stock appears to have improved considerably of late, with the stock tucking on gains of 45.8% over the past three months.
GoPro3-Month Share Returns
Source: CNN Money
GoPro stock is up more than 20% since its Q2 earnings release. The company's revenue increased 20% sequentially while its full-year revenue guidance of $1.35B-$1.5B points to a 13% Y/Y gain at the midpoint. Further, GoPro said that it expects to become GAAP profitable during the fourth quarter, driven largely by the launch of HERO5 and Karma. There is a good possibility that HERO5 will sell better than HERO4 Session since its substantial improvements over its predecessor might motivate users to upgrade. Further, GoPro has said that Karma will be backward compatible, meaning that it's going to be possible to use it with older GoPro cameras, something that is likely to increase interest in the drone.
GoPro stock looks like a good turnaround bet.