New York, June 24 :
The tiny screen of an iPod might not seem the best medium for enjoying the sweeping landscapes of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, or the breathtaking action scenes from Titanic. But such appears to be the goal of Steve Jobs, chief executive of Apple, who is in negotiations with most of Hollywoodâ€™s big studios to make feature films available for download via the firmâ€™s online music software, iTunes.
The company, which already controls more than 75 per cent of the music-download industry, hopes to introduce a service that would allow users to download films for $9.99 each by the autumn.
If it followed the pattern of Appleâ€™s involvement in music, it would launch in the US, and might not prove quite such a bargain when it arrived in the UK.
â€œSteve wants to get this done, and the studios want to reach an agreement, too,â€ one person with knowledge of the negotiations was quoted as saying in the New York Times. Disney, on whose board Jobs sits, is expected to be the first studio to make its films available.
The path to any deal, however, is likely to be difficult. The fact that films have different release dates in different countries will exacerbate studiosâ€™ fears about piracy. They are also understood to have defeated Jobsâ€™s attempts to impose a single purchase price for all movies, with the studios receiving a 70 per cent wholesale rate.
â€œWe canâ€™t be put in a position where we lose the ability to price our most popular content higher than less popular stuff,â€ one executive told Forbes magazine.