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Grouper Bows Free Sony Pictures Download Clips

9 Nov, 2006 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Grouper.com Nov. 9 announced it would begin offering for the first time free download clips to more than 100 catalog movies and TV shows from Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE).

The studio acquired the user-generated video-sharing site in August for $65 million.

The clips, which are available at ScreenBites — a new channel on Grouper — can be attached to personal blogs, emails and Web pages and posted on third-party sites such as MySpace, Facebook and YouTube.

The clips feature links that allow users the option to purchase the full-length film or TV show on DVD or digital download.

Movies range from A Few Good Men and Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle to On the Waterfront and Taxi Driver. Television programs Television programs include “Diff'rent Strokes,” “Fantasy Island,” “The Jeffersons” and “The Three Stooges.”

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment president David Bishop said the clips are designed to build traffic at Grouper and act as promotional tools for the studio's library of more than 3,500 movies and 82,000 hours of TV programming.

He said the initial clips would focus on catalog fare with the prospect of including new releases under consideration.

“We may look at that going forward,” said Bishop. “This is new ground for all of us.”

He said the clips would help promote sales of DVD and TV DVD, in addition to electronic sell-through, because both customers frequent the site.

“Digital downloads are not for everyone and DVD has certainly proven out to be,” Bishop said. “It is a way for us to highlight key catalog titles that may not be top of mind.”

Bishop said it remains to be seen whether hype surrounding electronic sell-through impacts DVD sales considering the medium has yet to be embraced by the consumer.

“We suspect in the future it will be,” he said. “Historically, when you have an innovation like this, you end up growing the whole home entertainment pie. And the ease and use is not directly cannibalistic.

“It's hard to project how the consumer will use it and when, but in our estimation it will be largely additive.”

Bishop said the picture quality from downloads does not compare to DVD or Blu-ray Disc and offering clips in high-definition on the Internet is difficult because of the required bit rate.

“Over time, I'm sure that will be possible,” he said.

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