GoPro Might Pay You for Your Extreme Videos

The GoPro camera can be used for recording virtually anything, but the original market for the small waterproof shooter was for action sports. GoPro gave surfers, skateboarders, skiers, bikers, bungee jumpers, and all kinds of extreme athletes the ability to easily record (and share) unique views of their sport. Now, we mount them on our cars and our dogs. I mount mine on my golf bag to record driving range sessions. You can find GoPro footage of nearly anything these days, and GoPro is looking to turn the best footage out there into cash for them and the creator.

The newly-launched Premium Content Licensing Portal is GoPro’s take on the Getty licensing model. Essentially, GoPro is selling a service to ad producers, movie makers, journalistic organizations, or anyone else with enough money that will allow them to buy the rights to interesting footage shot on GoPro cameras. The companies pay GoPro, GoPro pays the video makers. It seems like a no-brainer for content producers. As Mashable puts it:

… high-quality original footage is costly and difficult to produce, so advertisers are more than willing to shell out the money to buy licenses. Thanks to the durability of the devices and savvy ties with extreme sporting, GoPro users have created a wealth of first-person action footage that’s hard to get otherwise.

While, at least at the moment, it seems unlikely that GoPro users could use the service as a full-time job, it seems like getting offered some cash for their cool videos would be a win for them, as well. Everyone likes a little extra money, and they’d also get the thrill of possibly seeing their footage on TV or the web. They’re going to do parkour on high buildings or surf giant waves anyway — might as well make a little money off it.

The new service is also an interesting fork in the business model for GoPro. They’ve made a lot of money on their cameras and accessories, and the company is valued at almost $4 billion. But we’re seeing more and more that creating cool hardware isn’t enough. Look at Apple. They’ve sold unseemly amounts of their devices, but as the iterations offer fewer and fewer new features, customers become reluctant to pay for upgrades. The jump from the original iPhone to the iPhone 3GS was huge — much bigger than the jump from the iPhone 5 to the iPhone 6. Apple caught this early, and that’s where the App Store came in. It’s another revenue model built on the backbone of their successful hardware. GoPros are built to last. It’s one of their main selling points, but could also mean a longer window of time between repeat sales. If the hardware market gets too saturated, they have to turn elsewhere for revenue. Now a hardware company is also a media company. It’s not a pivot, it’s diversification.

The site is already up and running, so we may very well see more GoPro footage in our TV and online streaming ads. And since GoPro is acting as the gatekeeper for what’s interesting and engaging, chances are good that the footage we see will be the cream of the crop. It’s a smart move for GoPro. They make a little extra money, and might even convince buyers on the fence to pick up one of their cameras. Whether it works or not, the move shows that GoPro is looking to get ahead of the curve, rather than waiting for camera sales to drop before trying to play catchup.

(Image via chriscom)

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David G. Temple is the Managing Editor of TechGraphs and a contributor to FanGraphs, NotGraphs and The Hardball Times. He hosts the award-eligible podcast Stealing Home. Dayn Perry once called him a "Bible Made of Lasers." Follow him on Twitter @davidgtemple.

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