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Apple's iTunes Offers Sales of Movies From Most Major Studios

1 May, 2008 By: Stephanie Prange

Apple Inc. announced that iTunes will offer electronic sellthrough of movies from most of the major studios on the same day the titles are released on DVD.

Warner Bros., Paramount Pictures, Universal Studios Home Entertainment, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Lionsgate, Image Entertainment and First Look Studios join Disney in offering electronic purchases on iTunes.

New releases will cost $14.99 with most catalog titles $9.99.

“We're thrilled to bring iTunes Store customers new films for purchase day-and-date with the DVD release,” said Eddy Cue, Apple's VP of iTunes. “We think movie fans will love being able to buy their favorites from major and independent studios.”

“Partnering with one of the most influential leaders in the digital space on this exciting movie download service is a definite game changer as we successfully usher in a new era in digital home entertainment,” said Universal Studios Home Entertainment president Craig Kornblau. “This service not only presents a vital opportunity to make our digital content widely available to consumers in a highly appealing and accessible way, but it paves the way for electronic-sell-through to gain significant traction in the marketplace, as we work to develop it into our next marquee business.”

New releases available for purchase on the iTunes Store this week, concurrent with their DVD release, include The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. Other popular titles now available for purchase include Juno, Cloverfield, I Am Legend, There Will Be Blood, Alvin and the Chipmunks, American Gangster, and Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story.

The deal comes on the heels of Apple's announcement in January that it had signed all of the studios to movie rentals, with each title costing $3 to $4 to allow customers access for a 30-day period.

Last month, Walt Disney Co. CEO Bob Iger estimated that the conglomerate had sold 4 million movies via iTunes since it became the first studio to try day-and-date electronic sellthrough.

Yesterday Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes said Warner Bros. will roll out cable VOD releases day and date with DVD on all titles. Warner had been testing the strategy for some time.

Apple's move would put pressure on iTunes competitors ranging from Amazon's Unbox to Microsoft XBox Live Marketplace.

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