The Interview, for all its build up and controversy, could be the canary that Hollywood studios watch as they navigate the perils of more quickly making movies available online. By releasing the movie on Google and Microsoft’s Xbox streaming services, among others, Sony has given Hollywood a test case for distributing movies outside the multiplex cinemas.
Google Inc’s decision to screen Sony Pictures’ film “The Interview” may help legitimize its YouTube platform as a serious rival to paid video streaming services, Netflix and Amazon.com Inc. Sony Pictures made the controversial film available online on Wednesday, expanding distribution of a comedy that triggered a destructive cyberattack against the company that has been blamed on North Korea. The studio reversed its decision to halt the movie’s release after it was criticized for self-censorship. “This is a huge opportunity for YouTube to show the world that it can be used to release professional content and content that is paid for as most people think YouTube is for free content,” said James McQuivey, an analyst who covers the disruption of digital platforms at Forrester Research.