film division said Wednesday it acquired Grouper, the second-largest independent video community on the Internet, for $65 million.
"Consumers are spending more and more time on sites like Grouper, and as one of the world's largest creators of entertainment, we want to be where the audiences are," said Sony Pictures Chairman and Chief Executive Michael Lynton in a statement.
Sony said the acquisition should push it further into the digital-entertainment arena, but the company has no immediate plans to sell its movies and shows online.
While no immediate changes are planned for Grouper's site, Lyndon says there is potential for ad-supported and premium-content businesses. "Grouper gives us a strong platform for growth," he said.
Under the terms of the deal, Grouper, based in Sausalito, Calif., will retain its current management and work closely with a team at Sony Pictures.
"This acquisition demonstrates the breadth of involvement of Sony Corporation in the field of digital online entertainment," Lynton said. "Many people in the Grouper community use Sony cameras to create videos and Sony VAIO computers and mobile devices to store and view them. It makes sense to complete the circle by having Grouper be a part of Sony Pictures Entertainment, which itself creates so much content for people around the world."
Grouper shows short videos uploaded to the site by users, and provides software that allows people to place videos on social-networking sites including MySpace, Blogger and Friendster. The software also allows users to e-mail videos to friends and to download them to portable devices like iPods and PSPs.