Apple Computer recently held discussions with major recording companies, seeking to license music videos to sell through the company’s iTunes Music Store, according to a report in Monday’s edition of The Wall Street Journal.
The talks are a possible prelude to a version of Apple’s hit iPod music player that plays video — a version of the gadget that the Journal says the Cupertino, Calif., computer and electronics company has told some entertainment-industry executives could be unveiled by September.
The videos, which could go on sale as early as September, would likely cost $1.99 each on iTunes according to the newspaper, with the possibility of a discount if consumers buy a music video and a song at the same time.
If Apple’s gamble on video content proves to be successful, it could create a significant new source of income for media companies that are rushing to distribute video content on the Internet to offset the growing number of pirated movies, television shows and other programming now distributed online according to the Journal report.
Companies involved in the current talks reportedly include Warner Music Group, EMI Group, Vivendi Universal’s Universal Music Group and Sony BMG, a joint venture between Sony and Bertelsmann AG.
The Journal notes that so far, commercial movie download services have not met with much success, nor have devices already on the market allowing users to transfer video files from their PCs. But analysts see the iTunes video development as likely because of Apple’s strength in video software, including the Quicktime movie format and video-editing software, such as Final Cut Pro and iMovie.
Apple’s iPod is still churning out startling financial results for the company, boosting revenue by 75 percent and fueling record profits in the latest quarter. Last week, Apple reported its best quarterly profit ever thanks to iPod sales.
For the three months ended June 25, Apple’s net income rose to $320 million, or 37 cents per share, up from the $61 million and 8 cents per share the company reported in the year-ago quarter. Sales grew to $3.52 billion from $2.01 billion last year.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.