Sony and YouTube are in negotiations to make ‘The Interview’ available for digital rental, according to CNN’s Brian Stelter, and reported separately by Reuters. Reports earlier today suggested that Sony had actually approached the White House for help in securing iTunes as the VOD platform of choice for streaming availability, but technical and infrastructure challenges appear to have made that difficult. Re/code also reports that Sony plans to offer it for rental on its own, as well as via YouTube and Google Play.
Shelter’s report claims that the deal is in process, and could still fall apart at this juncture, but if things go well, the idea is to offer The Interview for rental via YouTube, Play and Sony (perhaps via Crackle or Sony’s own digital content stores) at the same time as it debuts in select theatres (approximately 300 independent cinemas) tomorrow on Christmas Day. It’s not an exclusive agreement, CNN reports, and iTunes is still likely as a future platform for distribution, even though negotiations related to a day-and-date launch in time with the cinematic debut fell through.
Last week, Sony Pictures CEO Micheal Lynton suggested that the company was working to get the film released in digital form, and just yesterday theaters began to announce their authorization to show the film, contrary to Sony’s earlier blanket cancellation of the movie’s release. Sony changed its tune after President Barack Obama spoke out on the subject, calling Sony’s response a “bad” decision directly.
Update: Yep, Sony released The Interview on YouTube, Google Play, Xbox Video, and a custom website.