Sony Pictures Entertainment bought video sharing site Grouper in a deal worth $65 million. In addition to using the site as a toehold in a hot segment of digital media, Sony will use the site to grow its user base and scout new talent.
Grouper allows its users to stream videos or download them to a desktop, Sony PSP, iPod or other media device. Additionally, video residing on the site can easily be shared with third-party Web sites like blogs, personal Web pages and MySpace profile pages.
“When you pair Grouper’s innovative video sharing platform on the Web and the desktop with Sony’s connected devices and copyrighted media you create a dynamic and exciting environment for consumers,” said Grouper CEO and co-founder Josh Felser, in a statement.
Sony expressed interest in scouting talent through the user-submitted videos, and said it will also leverage Grouper’s audience and features to extend its other entertainment offerings.
Entertainment companies and broadcast networks are increasingly promoting new releases and shows on social networking services and video sharing sites. NBC and Fox are among the networks to have cut official deals with YouTube to showcase their video content.
For Sony, owning the site guarantees exclusivity and control over distribution and presentation of its content.
“A site like Grouper allows people to showcase their creativity to a vast audience,” said Michael Lynton, chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment, in a statement. “It’s like a virtual, global audition and a great source for entertainment.”
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