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Sony Crackle online video site for discovering new talent

16 July, 2007

Sony Pictures Entertainment is planning to relaunch its online video site as a means of seeking new talent for the entertainment industry. Upcoming actors, directors, and producers would be able to post their clips on the website that could eventually be turned into films or TV shows.

Sony Pictures bought the Grouper online video site in August 2006, for $65 million. Sony is now renaming the site Crackle to catch new talent in the entertainment industry. The site will work as a streaming entertainment network with channels on animation, horror, and other genres.

Grouper was a video sharing site like YouTube, which was acquired by Google and was a pioneer in the sector. Video sharing sites work by allowing ordinary users to upload videos. Sony is now urging upcoming actors and directors to upload clips on Crackle. Crackle will now carry more videos made by up-and-coming producers, animators, and directors.

Grouper founder Josh Felser, who is co-president of the new Crackle, said, "We decided that the UGC space was not really a business. The content is the same on every site and it's really hard to monetize. Advertisers don't buy space alongside videos of people vomiting."

The movies that are uploaded on Crackle will be evaluated by Sony and if found good, they could eventually be turned out to be good television shows or movies. Crackle videos will also be available for sharing on social networking sites like News Corp.'s MySpace, Facebook and Friendster, and Sony devices such as the Sony PSP portable gaming device and Sony Vaio laptop computer.

Sony will elevate Crackle with a studio-centric approach of providing funding, promotion, and syndication. Out of the good posts on Crackle, Sony will conduct quarterly contests and will find the best original animation and award the creator with a cash prize. The winners will be awarded a trip to Los Angeles for a pitch meeting with executives at Sony Pictures Animation.

The videos can be posted on blogs, MySpace, Facebook, and other websites. The videos can be viewed on devices including the Sony PSP hand-held game console and Internet-connected Sony Bravia televisions.





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