Netflix To Stream 'The Interview'

Netflix will begin streaming Sony Pictures' controversial movie The Interview to its subscribers beginning next week, the over-the-top service said Tuesday.

The movie, which aired in theaters and via digital video-on-demand last month, will debut on Netflix Jan. 24, said the company.

"We are thrilled to offer exclusively the controversial comedy, The Interview, to our US and Canadian members beginning this Saturday, Jan. 24 --just thirty days after it debuted in theaters and pay-per-view," said the company in a letter to shareholders.

The Seth Rogen-James Franco comedy, which portrays the assassination of North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un by two TV personalities, hits Netflix one month after debuting in limited theatrical release and on digital VOD outlets. Sony initially pulled the movie from wide theatrical distribution after a cyber-attack on the studio and threats to theaters who exhibited the film.

Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos said during the Television Critics Association Winter press tour earlier this month that the film's strong VOD sales -- Sony has reported that the movie has drawn $31 million in digital sales  – bodes well for the future of digitally distributed movie programming.

“It’s been a great  example of what can happen with a big budget movie if you give people distribution choices,” Sarandos said. “You can create a lot of revenue.”

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.