Apple in talks to offer movies at iTunes

Apple Computer Inc. is in talks with most of Hollywood's studios to offer movie downloads via its popular iTunes Music Store Website, show business newspaper Daily Variety reported yesterday.

Citing unnamed sources, Variety said iTunes might begin offering film downloads by the end of 2006, but currently a price on iTunes is a sticking point in negotiations.

Apple's Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs is said to want one flat price of $9.99 per movie, whereas studio executives want a range of prices that mirrors videos and DVDs at retail stores which, generally speaking, run from discount titles at a few dollars apiece up to $19.99 or more for new releases.

Spokespeople for Apple and most of Hollywood's big studios either declined to comment or were not immediately available.

Putting movies for sale online via iTunes would seem a logical step for Hollywood's studios. Already, they offer movies online at Websites like Movielink and CinemaNow, and Warner Bros. recently agreed to make movies available via BitTorrent.

But because iTunes is already widely used for downloading songs and television shows, the relatively new market for downloading movies would likely get a boost from the added exposure of being backed by iTunes.

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