GoPro shares fall after results miss Street expectations

Key Points
  • GoPro reported fourth-quarter results that missed Street expectations on Thursday.
  • The company's revenue came in below its own lowered forecast.
  • CEO Nick Woodman said that subscription customers will become an "increasingly important focus" for GoPro.
GoPro earnings miss forecasts

GoPro shares initially plummeted after the company reported quarterly results that missed analysts' expectations on Thursday.

Here's how the company did compared with what Wall Street expected:

  • Adjusted loss per share: 30 cents vs. 11 cents expected according to Thomson Reuters
  • Revenue: $334.8 million vs. $340.1 million expected according to Thomson Reuters

That revenue figure came in below the $340 million the company forecast in early January when GoPro lowered its guidance.

At the time, GoPro said it expected fourth-quarter revenue of about $340 million. That announcement sent the stock to an all-time intraday low of $5.04 a share. GoPro shares ended Thursday's regular session at $5.50.

Following its fourth-quarter results, GoPro initially plunged as much as 11 percent in after-hours trade. The stock has since rebounded, but was still seen trading more than 3 percent below its closing price in choppy late trading.

During its Thursday earnings call, GoPro said that it expects revenue for the first half of 2018 to be lower when compared to the first half of 2017. It said, however, that it expects to see revenue growth in the second half of the year as it introduces higher margin products.

Similarly, the company said its sees margins in the mid-20 percent range for the first half of 2018. For the back half of the year, GoPro said it expects to see margins recover to the 30-percent range in tandem with product launches.

Despite the miss, GoPro said it still has a strong grip on the action camera market. The company said it has 80 percent of the category in the U.S., by unit volume. GoPro also saw unit sales grow 28 percent and 96 percent year over year in China and Japan, respectively.

CEO Nick Woodman said that GoPro still sees "significant demand" for its products "at the right price." He explained that the company does not have a real direct competitor. Woodman argued that this makes it difficult for GoPro to understand its market as well as the pricing dynamics within it.

The company recently slashed the prices on some of its products. Woodman said during a Thursday earnings call that GoPro saw a "immediate dramatic lift" in its sell-through rate after it lowered prices.

While those price cuts tightened margins, Woodman said its products saw their sell-through rates double or triple in December.

In January, GoPro announced it would layoff at least 250 employees and exit the drone market amid intense competition and a "hostile regulatory environment." The company also said Woodman would reduce his cash compensation to $1 for 2018.

Sources told CNBC in January that GoPro had hired J.P. Morgan Chase to explore a potential sale. Woodman has said that while the company is planning on staying independent, GoPro would consider a sale or partnership with another company.

On Wednesday, GoPro unveiled a $4.99 monthly subscription service that would allow customers to replace cameras, "no questions asked." The company said that the cost would be about 20 percent of the camera's original price.

The service includes unlimited photo storage, 35 hours of cloud video storage, 20 percent off GoPro accessories and premium support. GoPro said new customers will be offered a 30-day free trial of GoPro Plus, which the company plans to roll out more broadly later this year.

In its Thursday statement, GoPro said that its Plus subscription service currently has 130,000 paying subscribers worldwide. Woodman said the company will be "launching new initiatives as subscription becomes an increasingly important focus for our business."

— CNBC's Todd Haselton, Alex Sherman and Sara Salinas contributed to this report.

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