Search Crackle for the next Barats and Beretta

July 16, 2007

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The online video site Grouper, which Sony Corp. bought last year for $65 million, is exiting the crowded and risky user-generated video business and focusing on finding professional talent for Sony’s film and TV studios.

The site, which will change its name to Crackle, will serve as an online talent agency, grooming budding professionals, funding productions and connecting the best video writers, producers and directors with contacts at Sony Pictures and a variety of partners, including the Improv comedy clubs.

It is becoming increasingly hard for smaller players to stand out and deal with the many copyright issues that arise when users upload unauthorized clips of films or TV shows or use music in the videos without permission.

Crackle will fund episodic shows or short videos and winners will be chosen by a combination of editors and user votes.

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