"There is always a philosophy for lack of courage."—Albert Camus

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Sony Grabs "Amateur Video" Site

Grouper feature listAs I noted just this past week on this site and Karnick on Culture, the democratization of the media through technological change will probably be only a temporary phenomenon, as the 'Net will ultimately be harnessed by governments and corporations for their own benefit. Today Sony will announce its latest contribution to this process: its acquisition of Grouper, an amateur-video website along the lines of YouTube. The New York Times reports:

Sony Pictures Entertainment plans to announce on Wednesday that it has acquired Grouper, a Web site featuring videos contributed by users, for $65 million.

The deal marries one of the biggest and most powerful movie studios, which regularly spends more than $100 million on a film, with a Web site that provides free access to short and often inexpensively made videos on topics like pets, sports and music.

Michael Lynton, the chairman and chief executive of Sony Pictures, said the investment was a bet that material posted by users would continue to be a big draw online.

“My sense is that user-based content is a form of content that’s going to last,” Mr. Lynton said. “It’s a bet, no question, but it’s a bet worth making.”

Despite its emphasis on letting users share homemade videos, many of the most popular clips on Grouper are slick short productions, including music videos and commercials. . . .

Grouper will promote Sony’s content and seek to build communities of users around Sony movies and television shows, Mr. Felser said.

Of course it will. That's the whole point of the transaction.

From Karnick on Culture.

3 comments:

Pastorius said...

Karnick the Magnificent,

I'm sorry, but I think you are very wrong. Digital storage will become less and less expensive. Digital video editing and sound production equipment will become less and less expensive. And, also, if you analyze it the trend has been towards more and more content by more and more people for many years now.

All this means that eventually we will all have our own TV shows and record albums.

It is almost never a good idea to bet on less democratization.

The thing is, the more democratization there is, the more people call it decadence, and the more I celebrate it.

Decadence is the exhaust of a free, human rights-respecting society.

We ought always be happy about it.

Devang said...

This stuff is by no means good content, it's amateur and gives new meaning to the term "2-minutes of fame." It does however come with the territory of democratization. like pastorious said.

Sony is trying to make money, and even if they find a business model that works, they will hardly have gained any meaningful control to try and control content like they're trying to do with DRM. People producing the content may get ripped off in Sony's business model, and that's hardly control considering all the alternatives.

DRM and tier-ed internet service is control the way I see it. DRM is a lost cause for industry, which is why most have started offering downloadable and streaming shows. tiered internet service I must say is a very foxy ploy on their part if most of the world's governments go along with it. The internet is global now, and I doubt that will happen.

S. T. Karnick said...

I do hope you're right, Pastorius. . . .