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Why is the GoPro HERO9 A$140 cheaper, with a $69.99 subscription?

Alright, this is one of those stories that’ll sound too good to be true, but let me assure you that it is.

You can buy the new GoPro Hero9 camera in two ways – subscription, or outright.

Hero9 Black costs A$699.95 if you buy it outright or A$559.95 with a one-year subscription to GoPro.

Seems like an obvious decision right? This incredibly bold pricing from GoPro, means you not only get the camera for A$140 cheaper, but you also get a 12-month subscription ($69.99 value). Combined, that means you’re getting $209.99 of value by buying the HERO 9 with a subscription.

Purchasing a GoPro with a subscription isn’t like a phone subscription, stop the subscription anytime and the camera is still yours.

So why would GoPro do that?

Until now, GoPro plus has been a subscription that offered unlimited cloud storage (at full quality), a no-questions asked replacement if you break your GoPro and 50% off the price of accessories.

This first phase of GoPro subscriptions felt like they were dipping their toe in the water, and I never got the sense that many people opted-in for the services.

This time around, GoPro are going all-in on subscriptions. Clearly they expect customers to fall in love with the benefits of a subscription and continue paying the $69.99 per year ($5.83pm), or $7.49 if you go month-to-month.

I think the accountants at GoPro have been smashing the spreasheets and projected that the total customer value, is likely to return much more than the initial price of the camera.

When you look back over the history of GoPros, they’ve been on a regular once a year cadence for almost decade now. That means they get a sugar hit when new model is announced, then it drops off as we approach the next year’s release. This is incredibly spikey income and exactly the opposite of what companies love, hence so many moving to subscription-based pricing).

In GoPro’s ecosystem, they have both hardware and now services revenue, so the best of both worlds. While not everyone will turn into subscription customers over the long-term, I suspect many as a result of this aggressive and bold offer.

By converting more customers a subscription, GoPro not only get the sugar hit from the camera launch (and accessories), but also a monthly, more sustained revenue month-to-month for the whole year.

Existing GoPro subscribers can also take advantage of the A$559.95 pricing at GoPro.com.

“HERO9 Black reflects our commitment to delivering what our customers have been asking for, including more value for their money.

HERO9 Black is a beast of a product, and GoPro subscribers can get it for AUD$140 off at GoPro.com while also enjoying unlimited cloud storage of their GoPro footage, up to 50% on everything at GoPro.com and no-questions-asked camera replacement.

And we’re not done, with more value adds coming to GoPro subscribers later this year.”

Nicholas Woodman, GoPro’s founder and CEO.

The final reason the higher outright option exists is really for bulk purchasing. GoPro have a number of video creators that just want a bunch of cameras and have no interest in the subscription.

In recognising this, GoPro decided to also offer the camera without the subscription. Without the longer-tail of income from these customers, we don’t see the same discount, which explains the higher price.

We’ve also seen many customers who buy GoPro’s hold onto them for multiple generations. Before you ask, no subscription owners can’t just smash their old model to get the latest, so please don’t try that.

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