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Sony: No online service has 'stepped forward' to distribute The Interview

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Comedians in Tanks Getting Controversy

A number of people — The Verge included — have called on Sony to release The Interview online, be it streaming à la Netflix / Hulu or for sale on a service like iTunes / Google Play. In an interview with CNN's Fareed Zakaria (which will air in its entirety tonight), Sony Pictures CEO Michael Lynton says that while Sony "has every desire" to release the film, online isn't the immediate option. The network has been teasing the interview all day — here's the relevant snippet:

"There are a number of options open to us, and we have considered those and are considering those. As it stands right now, while there have been a number of suggestions... there has not been one major VOD distributor [or] one major e-commerce site that has stepped forward and said they're willing to distribute this movie for us... Again we don't have that direct interface with the American public."

This is a good time to remind our readers that Sony has its own online video platforms, including Crackle, home of Jerry Seinfeld's Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.

Though Lynton says no one has "stepped forward," he doesn't say whether or not Sony has made any effort to reach out — at least not in the teaser clip that CNN has aired — nor did he touch base on DVD / Blu-ray plans. Earlier today Obama called it a "mistake" for Sony not to release the film.

One platform has, in fact, offered to distribute The Interview online: BitTorrent.

Update: A new statement from Sony Pictures Entertainment says that the company has been "actively surveying alternatives to enable us to release the movie on a different platform." Full statement below:

Sony Pictures Entertainment is and always has been strongly committed to the First Amendment. For more than three weeks, despite brutal intrusions into our company and our employees’ personal lives, we maintained our focus on one goal: getting the film The Interview released. Free expression should never be suppressed by threats and extortion.

The decision not to move forward with the December 25 theatrical release of The Interview was made as a result of the majority of the nation’s theater owners choosing not to screen the film. This was their decision.

Let us be clear – the only decision that we have made with respect to release of the film was not to release it on Christmas Day in theaters, after the theater owners declined to show it. Without theaters, we could not release it in the theaters on Christmas Day. We had no choice.

After that decision, we immediately began actively surveying alternatives to enable us to release the movie on a different platform. It is still our hope that anyone who wants to see this movie will get the opportunity to do so.