Sony has reversed its position on whether The Interview will be released or not so many times now that it's officially turned itself around in a circle, but there's something strange about its latest statement.
On Wednesday, after pulling the film, the studio said it had no plans to release it, even on DVD or Video On Demand. Then, today, after President Obama said he believed Sony had made a mistake, Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton went on CNN to say that, actually, the company was planning to release The Interview — just not at Christmas. He also said the company had looked to find a VOD partner to release the film but had been unable to do so. Sony, he said, doesn't have a direct link to such a thing.
"We don't have that direct interface with the American public, so we need to go through an intermediary to do that," Lynton told CNN's Fareed Zarakia.
Except, uh, as Wall Street Journal reporter Joe Flint points out in this tweet, Sony does have such a thing.
Step 7: Go on TV and say you'd like to release but have no way to directly reach public. Step 8: Hope no one remembers Crackle.— Joe Flint (@JBFlint) December 19, 2014
See, Sony owns the online streaming site Crackle, something that's not widely known. And, gee, if you owned a streaming site you were trying to bring attention to, wouldn't showing a movie many theaters refused to screen, because of terrorist threats by a hacking group backed up by a foreign government, be just the thing to draw attention to that site? Wouldn't a story that's all over the news be the best kind of free publicity?
Yes, Crackle (as an ad-supported streaming site — think Hulu) is slightly different from the "pay to view" model of traditional VOD. But Sony could surely find a way to take people's credit card information. Or, at the very least, set up a Paypal account or something.
Really makes you think.