Grouper feature listAs I noted just this past week on this site, the democratization of the media through technological change will probably be only a temporary phenomenon, as the ‘Net will ultimately be harnessed by governments and corporations for their own benefit. Today Sony will announce its latest contribution to this process: its acquisition of Grouper, an amateur-video website along the lines of YouTube. The New York Times reports:

Sony Pictures Entertainment plans to announce on Wednesday that it has acquired Grouper, a Web site featuring videos contributed by users, for $65 million.

The deal marries one of the biggest and most powerful movie studios, which regularly spends more than $100 million on a film, with a Web site that provides free access to short and often inexpensively made videos on topics like pets, sports and music.

Michael Lynton, the chairman and chief executive of Sony Pictures, said the investment was a bet that material posted by users would continue to be a big draw online.

“My sense is that user-based content is a form of content that’s going to last,” Mr. Lynton said. “It’s a bet, no question, but it’s a bet worth making.”

Despite its emphasis on letting users share homemade videos, many of the most popular clips on Grouper are slick short productions, including music videos and commercials. . . .

Grouper will promote Sony’s content and seek to build communities of users around Sony movies and television shows, Mr. Felser said.

Of course it will. That’s the whole point of the transaction.