Sony buys Grouper for $65 million

Very good analysis by TechCrunch of Sony’s decision to shell out $65 million for the Grouper online video outfit. Excerpt:

The Grouper acquisition price is out of whack when compared to other recent video acquisitions. US Comscore data says Grouper had about 542,000 unique visitors in July 2006, compared to YouTube’s 16 million. Viacom’s recent acquisitions of iFilm (December 2005, 3.3 million U.S. uniques) and Atom/Shockwave (August 2006, 1.3 million U.S. uniques) for $50 million and $200 million, respectively suggest a per-unique-visitor valuation of $15-$20. Grouper’s per-unique-visitor valuation, by comparision, is roughly $70 – $120, depending on whether you look at June or July 2006 data.

It’s hard to use Comscore data for meaningful analysis as it doesn’t necessarily reflect total videos uploaded or viewed, and doesn’t reflect videos embedded on third party sites. I also only have U.S. Comscore data. However, noting those issues, the $65 million valuation on Grouper suggests a YouTube valuation of around $2 billion.

Of course, it looks like Sony was most attracted to Grouper’s P2P technology for movie distribution, meaning YouTube comparisons are inappropriate. $65 million is still a lot to pay, however, and bittorent, as well as services like Red Swoosh (covered here), are proven and effective means of moving large amounts of data over the Internet.