Major Hollywood content providers gave Apple and its iTunes Store a thumbs up during a panel discussion and Q&A session on Monday at the CES trade show in Las Vegas. The Cupertino-based company began offering hit TV shows and more than 2,000 music videos in October of 2005 after experiencing enormous success in the digital music industry. Deals with four Disney-owned studios -- Disney, Pixar, Miramax, and Touchstone Pictures -- were followed by a deal with Paramount Pictures and later Lionsgate films.
Panelists held slightly differing opinions about how to capitalize on their content, according to betanews, but all agreed that Apple and the iTunes Store are a positive force in the digital marketplace.
Film studios were previously reluctant to strike a deal with Apple, however, after witnessing the iPod-maker's dominant position over music labels following various deals between those firms. Apple was said to have a stranglehold on digital music sales, which experts say are becoming increasingly important as physical CD sales continue to plummet.
Former Sony BMG executive vice president of digital business and current president of Warner Bros. Digital Distribution Thomas Gewecke said Apple is a great partner to Warner, and that the it has helped make the download-to-own marketplace an important and competitive business.
Executive vice president of digital media for Disney/ABC TV group Albert Cheng chimed in as well, noting that Apple deserves a reward for creating an ecosystem that was the first medium to effectively distribute content online.
Cheng added that Apple is "the best partner we have to legitimize product and make it available."
Paramount's Tom Lesinski said iTunes is turning out to be an excellent place for Paramount to offer its existing catalog of films, rather than new releases. Lesinski admitted that the company's best-selling movie on iTunes is Zoolander -- a seven-year-old Ben Stiller comedy.