GoPro is firing 15% of its staff in an effort to stay afloat

Sink or swim time.
Sink or swim time.
Image: Flickr/Paintimpact/CC-BY-2.0
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GoPro’s terrible 2016 continues.

The action camera company announced today that it would lay off 15% of staff. This follows a similar round of layoffs in January, and a year fraught with poor sales, recalled products, and tepid reviews of the company’s latest products. In the summer of 2015, GoPro’s stock stood at roughly $63—today it’s trading at about $10.

In a Nov. 30 press release heralding strong Black Friday sales, GoPro said that more than 200 full-time staff would be cut, mostly from its entertainment division. Open positions will not be filled, and the company will pay out between $24 million and $33 million in severances and stock-based compensation.

GoPro has for years considered itself a sort of media company, inking deals with companies like Roku, Sony PlayStation, the NHL, and ESPN, to either stream content, or to provide its tiny cameras as a way of delivering new angles on sporting events. But the venture never really took off, and the company’s entertainment head, Zander Lurie, resigned in January.

GoPro also announced today that its president, former Microsoft and Skype executive Tony Bates, would also leave the company after roughly three year.

On the night of the US election, when attentions were elsewhere, GoPro announced a recall of its new Karma drone, as some were losing power while flying. The drone was a product that GoPro needed to sell well this year in order to find financial success, but it was delayed for almost the entirety of 2016, and then recalled soon after.

On a quarterly earnings call Nov. 3, CEO Nick Woodman said that the company aimed to return to profitability in 2017. Sales in each quarter of 2016 have been considerably lower than in the same quarters the year before.

One hint of hope for the company: Today’s release highlighted the fact that the company’s new GoPro Hero5 camera, which is waterproof and can respond to voice commands, helped the company achieve 35% higher Black Friday sales than in 2015. If GoPro can refocus on selling the cameras that consumers actually want to buy, perhaps the company will return to black.

Image by Paintimpact on Flickr, licensed under CC-BY-2.0.