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Sony goes snap Crackle and pop

Sony has relaunched the video site Grouper under the Crackle title.

Online video is all the rage and everyone wants in on the action. One year ago Sony acquired Grouper for $65 million dollars and today that enterprise is known as Crackle. In an effort to distinguish itself from the crowded competition, Crackle has chosen to dangle fame in front of would be producers young faces. Given that the elusive hope of fame has fueled a pilgrimage to Hollywood for close to 100 years, such tantalizing promises will likely deliver the goods.

In order to ensure that the lure of fame resonates with Crackle's audience the company is currently offering three contests that will likely advance the careers of the lucky winners.The High Wirecontest will allow the funniest individual a chance to perform at the IMPROV. The Shorts contest offers a $15,000 purse and the winner an opportunity to pitch his or her best idea to Columbia Pictures. Finally, the Wet Paint contest winner is open to aspiring animators and also comes with a $15,000 cash prize as well as a trip to the Sony Pictures Animation Studios. Participants should expect a rotating array of enticing contests.

Even still, it's uncertain that these contests will allow the site to carve out a niche. Crackle is focused on providing a venue for professional video material, but a cursory view of the site demonstrates that the quality at Crackle is hit or miss. Still, as a recent blog at Salon points out, "Sony owns many entertainment properties -- movie studios, record labels, a huge video game business -- and can thus offer attractive rewards to creators looking for more than YouTube fame." So if any company is able to leverage the online video market it ought to be Sony.