Bob Cringely writes about Sony’s acquisition of video-sharing site, Grouper:
Grouper has 1-2 percent of the video sharing market, so it isn’t like Sony is making some grab for market share like Rupert Murdoch did buying MySpace. Sony is actually doing something a lot smarter than Murdoch: the studio is buying market research.
Something is wrong with the movie business. Its core market of boys and young men have stopped going to the movies and are, instead, surfing, texting, SMSing, gaming, and making and watching these stupid videos. Time and money previously spent at the multiplex is being spent at home and online and Hollywood is hurting as a result — hurting not just because of revenue and profit shortfalls, but because the industry no longer has confidence that it knows for sure what its core market wants to see on-screen.
Sony is trying to join the enemy. For very little cost, Grouper will help them see what works and what doesn’t in this new medium. Grouper can be used to promote Sony properties and, if a real business model emerges, even to sell those properties in some form.