‘The Interview’ Elevates YouTube to Top-Tier Streaming Club
Google’s decision to air the controversial film “The Interview” on YouTube on Wednesday is far more than a defense of free speech — it is a calculated business move that aims to propel the video site from the go-to place for free videos of dancing cats and Korean pop stars to a source for Hollywood-grade films that viewers will pay to see, industry analysts said.
YouTube is one of three digital streaming partners that joined with Sony to release “The Interview.” Google Play and Microsoft’s Xbox also streamed the movie, but the release’s impact on YouTube could be the most dramatic, say movie and entertainment analysts. “The Interview,” a comedy whose depiction of the assassination of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un has spurred dire threats from that country and a massive cyberattack on Sony, could be a springboard for YouTube to become a movie distributor competing with the likes of Amazon, Netflix and Apple’s iTunes.
“The fact that this will be the first time for YouTube that it will be the first port of call for a major studio will be huge,” said Otessa Marie Ghadar, founder and president of new media production company 20/20 Productions. “You could see YouTube becoming the next big movie theater.”