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More than a million videos have been downloaded from its iTunes Music Store, which debuted the service less than three weeks ago, Apple Computer Inc. said on Monday.
Apple launched video on its popular online store Oct. 12, the same day it announced the release of a video iPod. The company offers a total of 2,000 videos, including music videos, short films from the animation studio Pixar, run by Apple chief executive Steve Jobs; and episodes of ABC's hit TV shows "Lost" and "Desperate Housewives."
The Walt Disney Co., which is negotiating a new contract with the highly successful Pixar, owns ABC. No other major studios have licensed content to iTunes, which sells videos for $1.99 each.
Despite the limited selection, Apple sold more than a million videos in 20 days. That latter number, however, was far longer than the few days it took the company to sell its first million songs on iTunes.
Apple, based in Cupertino, Calif., did not offer a breakdown on what was sold, how many music videos versus Pixar films or TV shows, for example. That information is important to analysts interested in seeing whether people are willing to watch TV shows on a small screen. The video iPod features a 2.5"-color screen that can play 320-by-240 pixel videos.
"The real issue here is whether or not there's going to be a paradigm shift or real channel shift (to video players)," Todd Chanko, analyst for JupiterResearch, said.
In a statement, Jobs said the number of downloads "strongly suggests there is a market for legal video downloads," but acknowledged that a broader variety of content was needed.
"Our next challenge is to broaden our content offerings, so that customers can enjoy watching more videos on their computers and new iPods," Jobs said.
Jobs has said that he expects exclusive content deals to be a key driver behind video downloads, another reason why the number of TV episodes sold would have been interesting, Chanko said.
"We should know whether the driver behind this one million number is 'Desperate Housewives,'" Chanko said. "Is there in fact a critical mass of downloads represented by 'Desperate Housewives?' If so, that would be interesting."
Apple's iPod is the most popular digital music player, accounting for about three quarters of the market. The company introduced the video iPod Oct. 12 at a news conference in San Jose, Calif. The largest 60 GB version can hold 15,000 songs, 25,000 photos or more than 150 hours of video, according to Apple.