This week it’s become obvious that many people feel there’s no longer a business in giving big breaks to the little guys. After Metacafe yesterday said it was discontinuing its user revenue-sharing program, and 60Frames said it was suspending operations as a web studio, we also found out that Crackle will soon close off user video uploads.
Here’s the relevant part of email sent to Crackle users yesterday:
[B]eginning June 1, 2009, general video uploading will no longer be supported by Crackle. Videos that you have previously uploaded to Crackle may still be available for viewing by accessing your profile page while logged in to Crackle, or by those who have bookmarked them. Sharing of uploaded videos via the “send” function in the video player is no longer supported. Consider taking some time to bookmark videos that you would like to continue to view. This availability, however, may be temporary. You should plan accordingly. We apologize for any inconvenience this transition has caused you.
Crackle, formerly known as Grouper, has gone through a lot of changes in the last five years since starting life as a personal P2P service. It was fully two years after Sony (s SNE) bought the site for $65 million that it brought Crackle into the fold in Culver City. In between Crackle had pitched itself as an avenue for bringing amateur content to the eyes of Sony executives, but that’s been deemphasized and now discontinued.
Today Crackle is Sony’s online content distribution centerpiece. The parent company is actually extending the brand off-site, posting premium shows and movies on YouTube under the Crackle name.