Recently, the relationship between producers and consumers has undergone rapid changes. According to Jenkins (2004), old consumers were seen as compliant whilst new consumers prefer to take media into their own hands. He claims that producers have “expanded the range of available delivery channels and enabled consumers to archive, annotate, appropriate and recirculate media content in powerful new ways”. The producers that have managed to keep up with these accelerated advancements are the ones experiencing long-term success. Producers that have maintained their old ways have joined their methods as a thing of the past.
GoPro, as a new company, came into the media battle with tactics that were formed around ‘prosumers‘. Their realisation was that consumer feedback during the product development process was fundamental to success. GoPro understood that for their company to be investable, it needed to have a long-term future. They authorised crucial funding of their content and technology and exposed the best user-generated content to spark intrigue. They also built fan communities around their product to shape a relationship with their consumers; such as an online site where every GoPro user receives news and weekly doses of user-generated content. This close relationship as well as the decision to act as an open technology, has allowed the GoPro to encompass an option not available to its competition: it has become a platform as well as a product. CEO, Nick Woodman, believes the GoPro’s success is due to what it enables a person to do and how it makes them feel. The lifestyle aspiration and brand associated, according to Woodman, is what makes users think, ‘God I love my GoPro’.
It is the close dependence that producers have on consumers and vice versa that has seen the GoPro navigate its own path from a niche product to being present at almost every event. But, GoPro’s current massive following does not mean that its success will be permanent; how many GoPro users will buy a new camera every year? The only way for GoPro to maintain popularity is to listen to what users want and constantly develop new technology.
Moore, C. 2014, ‘Platforms, Permissions and Ideologies in Technological Convergence Week 4’, lecture, BCM112, University of Wollongong, delivered 25 March 2014.