It was never about the feats of derring do, first-person backflips, stomach churning, gravity defying agility or incredible perspectives from the air, or underwater, that we have seldom seen before. If you’ve watched GoPro in the last year or so it felt like a lot more than that was taking place. And what do you know?
Inside the headquarters of GoPro, the video camera maker, there is a racing car, a collection of motorcycles, and drones outfitted with the company’s products. All of them are reminders of the niche that GoPro has carved out as the camera of choice for recording skiing, surfing and other experiences too gnarly for dainty smartphones.
For its next act, GoPro wants to also be known as a media company.
As David Carr recently wrote about Ezra Klein leaving The Washington Post and going to Vox, “(I)t is the emergence of a lasting commercial market, a game that has winners and losers, yet is hardly zero sum.”
GoPro’s CEO told the New York Times: “I think GoPro is producing some of the best short-form content out there today. There’s a phenomenal opportunity for us to leverage GoPro as a media brand.”
It is more than just short-form content. It is intensely different content: prosaic, first-person and sometimes intensely intense content.
My GoPro videos, so far, have been snorkeling and diving with fish. But here’s New Zealand’s Kelly McGarry, kitted out with a GoPro helmet mount, doing all of those normal/not-normal, personal, intense things. He’s bicycling, but not like you or me. You can hear him breathing and grunting and humming. And then, in the second minute of the video, he takes a backflip over a 72-foot canyon.
When you can equip people to document the wow factor anywhere, the ability to tell interesting, compelling, breathtaking stories grows immensely. Why wouldn’t that hardware company set out to become a media company?
And this quote, I think, is tellingly key: “Some of the distributors are begging for our content,” Mr. Dornbusch said. “It’s that entertaining. It’s that aspirational.”
(The story also references Red Bull, which very much has that same pathos at this point.)