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GoPro Hires Media Pro Zander Lurie to Build a New Business

The camera company's users make lots of videos, but those don't generate any money for the company. Zander Lurie is supposed to change that.

Peter Kafka covers media and technology, and their intersection, at Vox. Many of his stories can be found in his Kafka on Media newsletter, and he also hosts the Recode Media podcast.

GoPro users generate a lot of media — their first-person stunt videos are all over YouTube, Xbox and other sites — but those videos don’t generate a lot of money. Now GoPro wants to change that.

First step: Hiring media veteran Zander Lurie.

Lurie will be the camera company’s senior vice president of media, a new role. Lurie is best-known for this tenure at CNET, and then CBS, where he worked his way up to a top strategy role. Most recently, he was at Guggenheim Partners, where he was working with former Yahoo executive Ross Levinsohn to try to build up a digital portfolio.

GoPro makes almost all of its money selling its portable and rugged cameras, but in the lead-up to this year’s IPO, the company talked quite a bit about the opportunity it would have to turn its big media presence into money “in the near term.”

Last year, for example, “our customers uploaded to YouTube approximately 2.8 years worth of video featuring ‘GoPro’ in the title,” the company told investors in its IPO filing. And in the first three months of this year, the company said videos with “GoPro” in the title generated more than a billion YouTube views.

But generating lots of YouTube views is different from generating lots of money. And GoPro did tell investors it wouldn’t generate significant media dollars this year.

So what’s the plan, Zander?

“Monetization is not a near-term mandate,” Lurie said. “All of the business models on the Internet are available to this company. We will explore all the usual suspects.”

This is oblique, but it makes sense. The biggest value to all that video GoPro users create is obvious: It helps them sell more GoPros. The notion of creating a secondary revenue stream from that video is attractive, but it’s not a must-have today.

For now, here’s some fresh video, posted to the company’s YouTube channel:

And here’s an internal memo from GoPro president Tony Bates:

Team GoPro,

Here’s some great news to start the week. I am very pleased to announce that Paul Crandell has been promoted to Senior Vice President of Marketing and Zander Lurie has accepted our offer to become GoPro’s Senior Vice President of Media, responsible for creation, curation and distribution of our content.

Several months ago we recognized that the incredible quality and popularity of GoPro content required an aligned, strategic approach to both production and programing. That business has grown from an extension of our marketing strategy to a high-potential business opportunity. Our goal is to accelerate that growth and drive more high-quality content, through more media channels, to capture and engage a much larger audience. This spins the flywheel of GoPro’s virtuous cycle – great content, inspires purchase of our products and services which, in-turn produces more great content. In time, we will monetize this process using a number of traditional and new media approaches.

Zander’s deep experience in both new and traditional media make him a great fit for leading this vision. He was most recently EVP at Guggenheim Digital Media, owner of high profile brands Dick Clark Productions, the LA Dodgers, The Hollywood Reporter, Billboard and AdWeek. He served as SVP of Strategic Development for CBS Corporation, where he focused on distribution and monetization. Prior to that, Zander was CFO and head of strategy and mergers and acquisitions at CNET Networks. He started his career at JPMorgan where he led equity transactions and M&A in the Internet sector. In addition to his professional background, Zander is an avid skier, cyclist, golfer and runner, with five New York Marathons under his belt. He and his wife, Kristin, have a 2-year old son, Mack.

As GoPro’s SVP of Media, Zander will report to me and oversee Production, led by Wil Tidman and Programming, headed up by Adam Dornbusch. Together with these leaders, Zander will build a strategic business plan for content generation, platform partnerships, and for monetizing our media. Central to this mission is maintaining the high-integrity of the GoPro brand. The teams we’ve built for this business are best-in-class and Zander will help us recruit and retain AAA talent.

Regarding Paul, there’s not enough space or time to list his accomplishments or the value he’s brought to GoPro. Brandweek recently honored him as their Brand Genius of 2014 and his experience, leadership and skill in managing big teams are an incredible asset to the company and every one of us who works with him.

Please join me in congratulating Paul on the promotion and in making Zander feel at home at GoPro.

Great vision, great leaders, great team!


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