Sony's decision to stream "The Interview" on Christmas Eve will be more than a free speech victory. The move will have ramifications on everything from content release windows to security to the business models of Google and Microsoft.
According to CNN, citing a statement, and a bevy of other reports, Sony Pictures will release "The Interview" on Google's YouTube and Play and Microsoft's Xbox as well as 300 independent theaters around the U.S. Variety is reporting Netflix is also in the mix.
The streaming of the movie will start at 1 p.m. and run you $5.99 to rent and $14.99 to buy.
Google confirmed the earlier reports and said in a blog post:
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). So starting at 10 a.m. PST in the U.S., you can rent or buy "The Interview" on Google Play and YouTube Movies. It will also be available to Xbox Video customers and via www.seetheinterview.com.
Sony reversed course after it pulled "The Interview" on fears about terrorism. Movie theaters pulled the movie on worries about attacks. Sony was hacked a month ago reportedly by North Korea.
Previously: The media's Sony cyberwar rhetoric means the terrorists win | White House nudges Congress to revisit controversial 'CISPA-style' laws after Sony attack | Sony hack: How cybercrime just got even more complicated | Sony debacle shows how not to handle a hack | FBI says North Korea is 'responsible' for Sony hack, as White House mulls response | Hackers rejoice: Sony pulls Korea film, bows to criminal pressure
But in a move that turned out to be deliver some much needed positive PR, Sony has landed a lot of social media support for the decision to get the movie out there. The ramifications go well beyond the initial release. Here's a look at the moving parts:
- Networking and cloud. Sony's launch of the movie will create an online video on demand moment that'll stretch networks. Sony is reportedly talking to a bevy of distributors including Netflix. The networks of Google, Microsoft and others will closely be watched to see how they hold up. Rest assured, the cloud back ends of Microsoft and Google will be tested. Toss in Amazon Web Services, which powers Netflix and Amazon's Prime Video, and the ability to stream "The Interview" will be one helluva cloud infomercial.
- Security. By releasing the movie on multiple services, Sony is making the security issue go away in a large degree. It's one thing to attack Sony. It's quite another to try and bring down hyperscale cloud providers. Once again, security and the ability to stream "The Interview" will serve as good cloud marketing.
- The streaming business model vs. movie releases. Sony's move to stream "The Interview" ahead of the theater release takes a crisis and could upend a well-known business model. The movie, the DVD and the streaming release cycle. Should Sony recoup its money---who won't watch "The Interview" now---movie economics will change in a hurry.