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4 big takeaways from Nick Woodman’s interview with Kara Swisher

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Tech media heavyweight Kara Swisher, the Executive Editor of Re/code, was in town for the annual Tencent Media Summit in Beijing last week, interviewing Nick Woodman, the charismatic CEO of popular action camera manufacturer GoPro.

Topics discussed during their sit-down ran the gamut from GoPro competitors, to GoPro the media platform, to the future of consumer entertainment and the forms it will likely take.

Read on for AllChinaTech’s summary of the most exciting talking points from this event.

#1 On the question of copies

When Swisher probed Woodman about the blossoming of action camera products on the market, Woodman had this to say:

“The truth is, there have been competitors for years, in every market we enter there’s a different flavor of competitor… a non-obvious fact is that competition is very helpful in creating a new category in a new market… such is the case in China that I think the Xiaomi are actually helping us drive consumer awareness.”

Woodman elaborated that GoPro aims for the higher end of the market and in fact represents this segment alone, adding that efforts by competitors targeting the low end of products act largely in a complementary fashion rather than as a direct threat.

#2 GoPro quadcopters
Swisher mentioned the person-tracking capabilities of upcoming quadcopters and asked Woodman what this means for GoPro.

Reminding the audience of the upcoming GoPro quadcopter scheduled for 2016, Woodman had this to say:

“It’ll be the first robotic GoPro that we’ve launched, initially focused on flying. It’ll be able to do a number of other things that we think are differentiated…. We’re gonna be very focused on enabling our customers to capture incredible footage in ways that they haven’t before.”

#3 Traditional media in the social media era
When questioned about the relevance of traditional media companies in an increasingly user-driven self-produced era, Woodman had this to say:

“Our customers are, over time, going to be blurring the lines between user-generated and professionally produced. Think about how much more creative and productive they are compared with 10 years ago. They’re visually expressing themselves through photo and video more than they ever have and as tools like GoPro and editing apps become more and more convenient, in five to ten years the quality of the content that the average person is producing is gonna be incredible.”

On the uniqueness of the experience provided from user-generated content:

“With user-generated content, you get a much more realistic, perhaps authentic view of the world, it’s not biased through the filter that big media can sometimes place on it and so I like to think that movements like GoPro, Instagram, movements like you have here in China, are helping consumers learn about the world, become aware of things happening in the world.”

#4 On VR
Woodman spared none of his gushing enthusiasm for emerging VR tech, exchanging with Swisher the following couple of gems:

“I think that from what I’ve experienced from VR, even in its infancy right now, it’s going to be so mind blowing…. VR allows you to live out stories as though you’re in a dream state. It’s like lucid dreaming within someone else’s story, or reliving one of your experiences, or living out an experience that you couldn’t be at.”

So what’s in store for GoPro and VR products?

Woodman explains: “We’re developing spherical capture solutions, spherical video and spherical photo, the content format you need for virtual reality. We’re producing a 6 camera array to enable more in the first half of next year.”

(Screenshots of Tencent’s video)

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