Grouper Offers Sony Clips

NEW YORK Sony Pictures Entertainment plans to post 100 iconic scenes from its film and TV libraries on Grouper.com, the viral video service it acquired in August for $65 million.

Grouper’s 8 million unique monthly visitors are mostly 18 to 34, an audience Sony hopes to corral for both its current and catalog fare.

The scenes, which will fill Grouper’s new ScreenBites channel, are intended to stoke DVD and digital download sales for SPE.

Subscribers to the Sausalito, Calif.-based site will be able to lift the oft-quoted scenes for blogs and home pages across the Web. Until now, the copyrighted Sony footage was unavailable for free mash ups and consumer sharing.

Thrashing out a licensing deal would have been “too legally challenging between two separate companies,” said Grouper Networks president and co-founder Josh Felser. “That’s the reason you haven’t seen it before—since we’re the only video Internet service that is integrated into a studio.”

“It’s a new way for the demographic to discover, in a very viral fashion, the movies and television shows—or to remind them of the classic moments of some of their favorite entertainments,” said Sean Carey, evp, digital services and distribution, SPE. “This is an innovative way to give fans a chance to watch great moments in entertainment and conveniently buy the DVD of the movie or television show that includes their favorite scenes,” said company president David Bishop, in a statement.

As viral sites become more popular, providing such exclusive content can offer a competitive advantage. “It’s candy,” Felser said. “People are adding this kind of stuff on their profile pages and blogs…and grabbing it for their [digital] devices. It’s as defining of who you are as music.”

ScreenBites material includes Robert De Niro’s “You talkin’ to me?” from Taxi Driver; Marlon Brando’s “I coulda been a contender,” from On the Waterfront; and choice lines from Groundhog Day, Men in Black and Spiderman, to name a few. Married With Children and The Jeffersons are among its small-screen offerings.

In coming months, SPE plans to augment the ScreenBites inventory with additional clips from 3,500 films and 82,000 hours of TV programming, which all told have earned the studio 184 Oscars and 165 Emmys.

Grouper subscribers can expect Sony-themed promotional events every 45 days in the upcoming 12 months.

“It’ll be much more interactive and innovative than just putting a trailer up,” Felser said.