Nick Woodman wanted a portable camera that he could strap to his wrist to record surfing adventures. What he got was a camera that made him a billionaire.
Woodman turned his idea into a company now known as GoPro. The small, wearable cameras that only weigh 74 grams are now the best selling cameras in the world.
GoPro undoubtedly made its fortune with these cameras. The company launched in 2002 and grossed $350,000 in sales by 2005, according to CBS News.
Since then, sales have at least doubled every year. In 2012, sales for the cameras soared to over $500 million, according to CBS News. That number is projected to be over $1 billion for 2013.
The models of the current version of GoPro camera are sold for under $500, which is much less compared to most advanced cameras on the market.
The cheapest model is $200, while the most expensive is $400 for the 12-megapixel model.
Because the camera is waterproof and wearable, the kinds of activities that can be filmed are very numerous.
Many students at John Brown University own or have used these cameras. Freshman Grant Willbanks, an avid skater who also plays in a band, said the cameras have been very useful.
“Their marketing makes people want to buy the cameras. Personally, I’ve used one to record skate sessions, BMX sessions, and our band also used one to record a video of our set at a concert.” Willbanks said.
JBU media producer Jonathan Daniel has also used a GoPro camera regularly in many activities, such as wearing one on a motorcycle ride, and mounting one inside of his car. Recently, he mounted one on top of the backboard of a basketball goal during a JBU game.
With so many people buying them, Daniel also believes it has to do with the company’s marketing and commercials.
“The company has many fantastic releases of people doing incredible things with their cameras. The marketing is truly brilliant.” Daniel said.
The cameras are also simple to operate. The cameras only have two buttons, and a one-button mode, which allows the camera to operate with one button, according to GoPro’s website.
“It’s a perfect camera for people who just want to stick a camera somewhere, forget about it, and go. Then they can come back and show the footage to their friends.” said Daniel.
Some people shoot video of themselves walking down the street; while one teenager from the United Kingdom attached one to a weather balloon and let it float high into the sky, according to CBS News.
No matter what is being shot on the cameras, it is obvious that the company has made an impact in the world of videography. Willbanks says that they have provided a new medium for videos.
“You can do so many things with them that you couldn’t do with normal cameras. You just can’t take a normal camera scuba-diving.” Willbanks said.
One thing is for sure; GoPro turned a simple idea into a billion dollar business.