Whenever I go on vacation with family or friends, I usually shoot video of our trip with a GoPro camera. I use iMovie to make a short highlights film after the vacation is over that I can then post online and send to my friends. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I believe that video relates an experience much better than a photo album. Even though it takes me a solid two days to create a good movie, I enjoy the finished product enough that I am willing to dedicate the time to make it.
However, there’s a reason why most people still choose to take pictures over video. Watching raw, unedited video is awkward, and the process of editing video to create an entertaining 4-5 minute movie is extremely time consuming. Most people are unwilling to dedicate the time it takes to parse through hours of footage, find the best clips, sequence those clips into an engaging story, and overlay music that sets the right mood. As a result, the overwhelming majority of vacations/activities/experiences are still documented with pictures.
A New Market is Emerging
Over the last few years, the demand for action sports video cameras has exploded. GoPro possesses a near-monopoly on this market and is growing at an extraordinary rate. In 2011, GoPro’s estimated revenue was ~$250 million; in 2013, they may crack $1 billion. GoPros are selling like crazy, but for the aforementioned reasons, I would speculate that only a fraction of users actually take the time to edit and upload their video to YouTube. During a conversation I had with a GoPro employee, he told me that GoPro’s biggest long-term focus is getting video off of users’ cameras and onto the internet. The more content that makes it’s way to YouTube, the more other people will see viral videos shot with a GoPro and want one for themselves.
Does GoPro eventually want to provide video editing services that eliminate the barrier to creating awesome video content? Maybe. They’ve already developed GoPro Studio, an application akin to iMovie that offers pre-loaded template themes that allow users to drop video clips into a prebuilt movie with music, titles, and other visual effects. It’s clear GoPro understands their users’ pain points, but given the speed at which the company is growing, they may not have enough dedicated resources to tackle this problem now.
A Business Opportunity Awaits
I’d like to create a video editing company that addresses this problem. I envision a service where people can upload their raw footage to a website, and experienced editors will turn that content into a beautiful short film. Pricing might depend on the number of hours of raw footage uploaded, as well as the length of the final video.
I searched around the internet for competitors and discovered Videopixie and Viedit, online marketplaces that connect video takers with video editors. In the case of Videopixie, users upload their raw footage to the site, and Videopixie’s network of freelance editors will edit the video for them. The upside to this business model is scalability – Videopixie isn’t actually hiring any of its own editors, and instead takes a percentage fee from the transaction. However, the downside of the business model (and one that outweighs the upside in my opinion) is Videopixie’s lack of quality control over edited videos. Because Videopixie outsources the editing to freelancers, Videopixie customers may experience varying levels of quality depending on what editor they choose. In addition, Videopixie is attempting to serve the entire spectrum of video categories, including action videos, music videos, customer interviews, game trailers, and so on.
If I started a video editing outsourcing company, I would do a couple things differently. First, I would focus solely on action sports videos and other vacation videos shot with a GoPro. Second, I would hire editors and train them on how to edit this type of footage so that all final videos achieve the same high standard. By focusing on a particular type of video (action sports), it will be easier to train editors in a specific editing style, which will in turn help them edit videos faster.
I’m really excited about the idea, and I truly believe that there’s a market for this type of service. I’m a big skier, and five years ago, no one was wearing mountable cameras. Today, they’re all over the mountain. Five-year-olds, teenagers, dads – they’re all using GoPros. I think that creating a service that caters to an unmet need in an exploding market is a good move. My biggest question is – can the business model work? That’s what I’m going to find out.
(If anyone reading this post has ideas, suggestions, or relevant business experience, please shoot me an e-mail or post a comment. I’d really like to hear what other people think about the concept.)