iTunes add shows, eyes films

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iTunes continued to add to its video bounty today through new deals with ABC News and MGM Studios, but the big question on the minds of industry insiders is: When will iTunes start offering full-length feature films?

The answer?

Soon, and definitely before the end of the year, according to a recent quarterly earnings call by Hollywood studio Lions Gate Entertainment. Company President Steve Beeks said his firm has a digital distribution deal with iTunes, as well as movie download sites CinemaNow and MovieLink.

"In terms of iTunes movie downloads, I think most likely some time before the end of the year," Beeks said. "We know when they are planning on launching, but since they have not announced it publicly, I do not think it is our place to say anything more about that. Calendar year."

Lions Gate's catalog of films includes Terminator 2, Natural Born Killers, Van Wilder, American Psycho, Fahrenheit 9/11, and Crash.

As for TV content, iTunes has begun selling archived ABC News clips like the O.J. Simpson car chase, the Challenger space-shuttle disaster, and President Nixon's resignation.

The clips, which range from about 18 minutes to 40 minutes, cost $1.99 each, as do almost all of iTunes' video catalog.

iTunes is also now selling episodes of sci-fi series Stargate: SG-1 and sequel Stargate: Atlantis. The Sci-Fi channel said yesterday that it has pulled the plug on Stargate: SG-1, which at 10 years is the longest-running science-fiction series ever on US TV.