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Viacom to become second major Apple movie partner

Continuing the sample of pre-show news, there’s word that Viacom has signed on with Apple to offer feature-length movies on the iTunes Store. Viacom, which is the parent company of CBS and Paramount Studios, joins Disney on the iTunes Store. Steve Jobs is expected to announce the addition to the iTunes Store lineup today. The deal will see Viacom only offering catalog titles (that is, movies that have been on DVD for some time), and should thus be seen as a cautious entry into the Apple fray. To date, Apple has sold most catalog movies for $9.99, compared to $14.99 for new releases (except pre-order and brand new releases, which are priced at $12.99 for a limited time). Why be cautious? According to the WSJ, which is one source of the rumor (we’ve heard this, too), Paramount is worried that major retailers like Wal-Mart will retaliate against them for getting in bed with Apple. Reportedly, Paramount was relieved to see Disney pass through the holiday season unscathed, and so they’re now dipping their toes in the water.

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