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Apple moves on movie downloads

iMovies by the end of the year?

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Apple is getting serious about chatting up the Hollywood studios to make movies available for download, according to the news pages of Luvvie publication, Variety.

The magazine says movie lovers could be downloading films from the iTunes service (who wants to bet there will be iMovies by then?) as early as the end of this year. Unsurprisingly, the question of what to charge per film is as yet unanswered, and this is said to be holding up negotiations.

According to the report, Steve Jobs (personally involved in the negotiations, of course) wants to charge surfers a flat fee per download. The studios, meanwhile, are keen on a variety of prices depending on the age and popularity of the film. New releases would be charged at $19.99, twice Jobs' preferred $9.99 rate, but other titles could be sold at a discount.

The reported dispute mirrors the one Apple had with the music industry. Record labels wanted the discretion to set different prices for different songs, but Apple held out for the flat-rate pricing model that has served it so well.

However, there is speculation over at ArsTechnica that Apple's flexibility on pricing TV downloads indicates a deal is there to be done on movies. ®

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