FINALLY ... Lionsgate Entertainment (NYSE:LGF) has begun selling 150 theatrical releases through Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) ITunes Store. Titles for purchase and download include Terminator 2, L.A. Story and Reservoir Dogs.
Titles from Lionsgate were expected to appear on iTunes months ago. Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) was the first studio to have movies on iTunes. It was joined by Paramount Pictures (NYSE:VIA) last month. Business 2.0 said Lionsgate is a good add for iTunes since it has the second-largest catalog of home video titles. ITunes' movie offerings total some 400. Most are priced at $9.99.
“We’re delighted to offer these incredibly popular Lionsgate films on iTunes and look forward to adding even more films in the future,” Lionsgate president Steve Beeks said in a statement the deal. “ITunes lets users download these wonderful films to watch on their computer, TV or iPod, so movie fans can take their favorite Lionsgate films with them anywhere.”
The addition of Lionsgate is good for iTunes, of course. But, the independent studio is still a small player in Hollywood. It's possible that negotiations to get Lionsgate on the roster were held up by rights and marketing issues. The resolution of those problems may mean that Apple's learning more about what makes the movie makers comfortable in an online world and there may now be other studios weighing whether to have their titles sold through ITunes.
The move had no impact on Lionsgate's stock price which barely moved in Monday trading.
Disclaimer: I own shares of Apple and Viacom and Disney.