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Apple in talks with Hollywood Studios to offer movies on iTunes

Paramount in favor of movie rentals on iTunes; Universal Studios does not like Apple's plans.

18 June, 2007

Apple is in talks with some Hollywood Studios to make their movies available on the iTunes service by Apple, according to some reports on the internet. The reports said that Apple plans to make the movies available on iTunes on a rental basis.

It is expected that the movies will be rented out for USD 2.99 for 30 days. Though it is not officially confirmed, it is expected that the two studios that Apple is talking to, are Viacom Inc.'s Paramount Pictures and General Electric Co.'s Universal Studios Inc. It is heard that the former is in favor of the move while the latter is not.

As of now, Apple offers TV programs from entertainment companies and old movies from studios like Lions Gate Entertainment Corp., Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc., Paramount and Walt Disney Co., but the company has so far not succeeded in making new movies available on iTunes from the world's major studios. The only major studio that sells movies through iTunes is the Disney Studio.

Though many websites are carrying reports about Apple's downloadable movie rental plan, Apple has declined to comment on the rumor.

It is expected that if Apple can persuade some studios to offer new movies on rent through iTunes, then it could pave the way for offering them on sale too. However, reports say that many studios are worried about copyright issues. Apple wants the movies to be played on computers and secondary devices like iPods. This can cause a major problem with copyright issues or can result in reduction of sales, some studios fear.

Steve Jobs has many times dismissed the consumer appeal of rental-like "subscription" music services, which allow users to listen to as much music as they like for a flat monthly fee, without giving them permanent ownership of the songs. The main motive behind this move by Apple is that, when more video content would become available on products like iPods, it would naturally mean more sales for the company, which generates a major part of its income from these products. The company also expects the upcoming iPhone and the new iPod products to generate demand for new video content.





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