YouTube, Xbox Video give boost to The Interview

DetailsJoseph O'Halloran | 27 December 2014

Days after reversing its decision not to show The Interview through any media, Sony has received a boost for the controversial film from the online video community.

The INterviewThe studio had shelved the film indefinitely, after Regal, AMC and all other theatre chains in the US decided to boycott it, citing terrorism concerns yet despite initially saying that there are no further plans for releasing the $42 million film the Interview in any format, even when it comes to DVDs and cable video-on-demand access, Sony Pictures now says that it's "actively surveying alternatives to enable us to release the movie on a different platform."

And among the leaders of the different platforms is YouTube. The Google company revealed that on 24 December, it was one of a number of companies whom Sony contacted asking whether it would host the film online.

"We'd had a similar thought and were eager to help—though given everything that's happened, the security implications were very much at the front of our minds," explained YouTube SVP Corporate Development and Chief Legal Officer David Drummond. "Of course it was tempting to hope that something else would happen to ensure this movie saw the light of day. But after discussing all the issues, Sony and Google agreed that we could not sit on the sidelines and allow a handful of people to determine the limits of free speech in another country (however silly the content might be)."

US and Canadian viewers can now watch The Interview on Google Play and YouTube Movies.

Microsoft has made an identical move allowing its Xbox Video customers in the United States who have an Xbox console, a Windows Phone, or a PC or tablet running Windows 8 or have access to either buy or watch the film.

"In the United States, freedom of expression is a fundamental principle that is protected by law. Our Constitution guarantees for each person the right to decide what books to read, what movies to watch, and even what games to play," said Microsoft General Counsel and Executive Vice President, Legal and Corporate Affairs Brad Smith. "In the 21st century, there is no more important place for that right to be exercised than on the Internet. After substantial thought, we decided to stand up with Sony and work with others to ensure that freedom of expression triumphs."

The film can also be seen at Unconfirmed reports from the US suggest that the Netflix SVOD service could likely be the next platform for the film.