By Carl HoweWe've written several times in the last year or two that we think Apple (AAPL) has plans to develop the video market in much the same way. Well, NPD has some initial data saying that Apple is already well on its way, with iTunes now accounting for 90% of all paid-for digital downloads. This is despite many other high-profile launches of video content, including Amazon (AMZN) Unbox, XBox 360's video Marketplace (I forget its name, that's how memorable it is), and Morgan Freeman's Clickstar.
Now this is still a market just getting started, so initial market share doesn't really mean anything. But with the success of iTunes and the introduction of its upcoming iTV set-top box, Apple will certainly be one of the contenders for the title of downloadable movie king. And this latest data suggests two moves Apple could make that could transform iTunes into the clearly dominant provider of digital movie downloads:
1. Introducing its own iTunes-powered all-in-one flat-panel HDTV system
2. Signing deals with video pornography producers
Because Apple cares about branding and brand value, Option #2 is not going to happen. And Option #1? I've been predicting Apple has such a project in the works for about a year and a half. I'll be looking for more clues as to whether it is happening or not during Steve Jobs' MacWorld keynote on January 9. But given the current data, Apple has the potential to repeat its domination of music in video as well.
Perennial full disclosure: I own some Apple stock and wish I owned more.