iTunes add shows, eyes films

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.

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