DirecTV won't show 'The Interview,' others won't say

Sony says VOD providers are unwilling to carry the movie

DirecTV, the biggest satellite TV operator in the U.S., says it won't be offering "The Interview" to its customers.

The movie was pulled from theatrical release last week by Sony Pictures after threats that followed a massive hack and the release of sensitive and embarrassing corporate documents. Sony's action has been widely criticized by free-speech advocates, Hollywood film-makers and President Obama, but Sony says it had no choice after movie theater chains got cold feet about showing the film.

In a TV interview with CNN on Friday, Sony Pictures CEO Michael Lynton said the company is now looking to video-on-demand services, but none are willing to touch the movie.

"As it stands right now, while there have been a number of suggestions that we go out there and deliver this movie digitally or through VOD, there has not been one major VOD, video on demand, distributor or one major e-commerce site that stepped up and said they are willing to distribute this movie for us," Lynton told CNN's Fareed Zakaria.

Asked if they were in principle open to offering the movie, Time Warner Cable and Dish Network declined to comment, but DirecTV was clear about its decision.

"DirecTV will not be offering the movie," said Darris Gringeri, a DirecTV spokesman, via email.

Netflix avoided the question and said, "We are approached on virtually every unconventional release by the networks and studios and, as a matter of course, don't discuss publicly the pitches, concepts or ideas that come our way."

Apple, Amazon and Comcast did not respond to several requests for comment.

Speaking at a news conference on Friday, President Obama said the decision to cancel release of the movie was "a mistake."

"We cannot have a society in which some dictator someplace can start imposing censorship here in the United States," he said. "Because if somebody is able to intimidate folks out of releasing a satirical movie, imagine what they start doing when they see a documentary that they don't like, or news reports that they don't like."

"Or even worse, imagine if producers and distributors and others start engaging in self-censorship because they don't want to offend the sensibilities of somebody whose sensibilities probably need to be offended. So that's not who we are," he said. "That's not what America is about."

Martyn Williams covers mobile telecoms, Silicon Valley and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Martyn on Twitter at @martyn_williams. Martyn's e-mail address is martyn_williams@idg.com

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Martyn Williams

IDG News Service
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