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Apple sells 8 million TV shows, fueling cross platform migration

Apple Computer’s Steve Jobs said last week that his company’s iTunes online store had sold more than 8 million video and television shows at $1.99 each since the debut of the new TV distribution service three months ago.

The soaring sales figures helped explain the aggressive rush by broadcast content owners to expand to new pay-per-program distribution platforms.

Apple’s content options seemed to expand overnight, as the company added new programming ranging from skits from NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” to the Sci Fi Channel, Disney and USA Network. Most of the content is being made available for sale one day after initial broadcast.

In an indication of the global impact of the trend, the British Broadcasting Corporation announced last week that it would make about 40 video news clips available daily in the United States and Canada for Internet and cell phone subscribers through a deal with ABC News.

BBC News producers will choose segments on top world and British news, along with topical items like entertainment, business and technology news. ABC, which is part of the Walt Disney Company, did not say when it will begin offering the clips, nor did it disclose pricing details.

Also last week, Google announced the Google Video Store, the first open video marketplace enabling consumers to buy and rent a wide range of video content from a major television network (CBS), a professional sports league (NBA), cable programmers, independent producers and filmmakers.

Google video will let subscribers watch high-quality video on the Web. For video producers and anyone with a video camera, Google Video provides a platform to publish to the entire Google audience in a fast, free and seamless way.

CBS immediately embraced the new distribution outlet. Making its programming accessible to the Google Video Store gives its shows new exposure to millions of users who are likely to access this Web service and who may not be traditional TV viewers, said Leslie Moonves, president of CBS.

Google’s service is also available to independent video producers. Any video producer, large or small, can upload their content and distribute it for free or at a price. Video prices are set by the content provider with no minimum or maximum dollar limit. Owners also have the choice to offer their content with or without copy protection.

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