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article imageOp-Ed: Sony's Action Cam is gunning for GoPro

By Elizabeth Brown     Mar 25, 2015 in Technology
Sony's recently-launched Action Cam has gotten plenty of viral interest on the Web. The buzz started with a March YouTube video of a POV shot from an eagle, which generated millions of views in a matter of days.
That kind of interest has tech observers wondering whether Sony's Action Cam can dislodge GoPro with the latter's lofty success in the robust camera segment.
Perched atop the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, the world's tallest building, a white-tailed imperial eagle strapped a Sony Action Cam Mini weighing 300g to its back, and then launched a breathtaking flight down 2,772 feet.
Was it advocacy of a rare, endangered animal or a brilliant publicity stunt?
GoPro Sees Challengers
In 2014, GoPro generated nearly $1.4 billion in revenue, and its Hero 4 is considered the company's flagship product. But Sony is looking to entice outdoor enthusiasts with the Action Cam Mini with features not found on Hero 4.
The tiny HD video camera weighs 30 percent less than its predecessor. Its 170-degree wide-angle is more than GoPro's 145-degree angle. And to further differentiate itself, Sony's new camera has image stabilization and stereo sound quality, along with noise cancellation and wrist-mounted accessory for controls.
A second video has also received plenty of interest.
On Monday, Sony uploaded "The Picture Machine" on YouTube, which got over a million views in just a couple of days. The video showcases the Action Cam placed inside a remote-controlled car-rig. The contraption then travels around in a circular path to film animation frames that are mounted on a wall. As the car-pod zips along at high speeds, viewers are treated with an illustrated cartoon of dancing mushrooms. Sony's camera utilized a steadyshot feature for image stabilization.
Strong Demand for Robust Cameras
Still, GoPro remains the face of an emerging robust camera industry. In the past three years, the San Mateo, Calif.-based company has grown by nearly $400 million in revenue each year. GoPro, and its challengers, have been buoyed by strong demand in wearable gadgets, which has spilled over to sales for wearable cameras.
Sony seems to be leveraging social media to generate millions of dollars in free publicity, since videos shot from action cams tend to be highly interesting to young audiences.
"The social media side of the (GoPro) business had great metrics, with YouTube content up 92 percent year-over-year, YouTube views up 99 percent .... All this indicates growing brand awareness," said Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter in a 2014 interview.
One question for investors is: Will there be enough room for more than one dominant player in this market?
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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