Apple Inc. (AAPL)’s iTunes Joins other Web Platforms, Offers “The Interview” Movie

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is now offering Sony Corp (ADR) (NYSE:SNE)’s controversial comedy film “The Interview” through rental or purchase options at its iTunes store. Apple is one among the tech companies who came in late in offering the movie online, which was first carried by Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) and Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) on Christmas eve.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) choose to carry the film on iTunes on Sunday, four days after it was made available through other web platforms such as YouTube, Google Play, and X-box Live.  An earlier report by The New York Times, citing unnamed sources briefed on the matter, said that Apple was initially not interested in carrying the film immediately, and Sony is said to have asked the White House for help in lining up Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) to carry the movie.

Apple (AAPL)

“The Interview” angered North Korea with its plot of the assassination of Kim Jong-un, North Korea’s leader. Major exhibitors declined to show the movie on account of security threats, causing a cybersecurity dispute between the North Korea and the U.S.  President Obama has called into question Sony’s decision to withdraw the film’s release, calling it a mistake, but Sony has reasoned out that it cannot force exhibitors to show the movie. On Christmas eve, however, the company offered the comedy film online, generating an estimated $15 million in sales and rentals. Smaller, mostly independent theater chains also showed the movie in about 331 theaters, generating about $1 million in sales. Sony reportedly spent about $44  million in producing the movie, on top of the $30 million-$40 million spent in the form of marketing costs.

The simultaneous release of “The Interview” in online and theater platforms is the first for a high-profile film, and highlighted Google’s YouTube as an alternative online film site.  Google have been building its collection of movies and music offerings to compete with Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) as a provider of premium content. “The Interview” can be purchased from iTunes store for $14.99, while rental costs $5.99.

This article has been written by Nonito Guntan.

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