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Report: Apple close to winning over studios

Apple is near to closing agreements with all of the top studios, BusinessWeek reports.

Apparently, Apple is willing to make concessions to the film industry to bolster iTunes' lackluster movie offerings.

BusinessWeek is reporting that Apple is close to signing distribution deals with most of the top movie studios that would give Apple access to newly released films.

The Financial Times reported last month that Apple has already signed an agreement with Twentieth Century Fox. BusinessWeek now says the company is nearing deals with Warner Bros., Paramount Pictures, and Lionsgate. The magazine suggested that some of the deals may be announced at the Macworld conference, which starts January 14.

While Apple has dominated music, it's been slow going in video.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs has had to overcome fears in Hollywood that the movie industry could end up like the music industry: handing over too much control to Jobs. Perhaps the best known example of this is the music industry's inability to get Jobs to allow flexible pricing for songs.

But according to BusinessWeek, Jobs is winning over the studios by sweetening the pot. Jobs once capped the price he was willing to pay for each movie sold through iTunes at $14, the magazine reported. He has now agreed to pay closer to the $17 wholesale price that Wal-Mart and other physical retailers pay.

Up until this point, iTunes hasn't offered iPod owners, with the video-equipped devices, much in the way of newly released moves. On iTunes, one can find new releases from Disney for $14.99 and older titles from other studios for $9.99. BusinessWeek is also reporting that Apple plans to charge $3.99 for 24-hour rentals.

In addition to the trouble with movie studios, at least one major TV network has also balked selling through iTunes. Late last year, NBC Universal announced that it would stop offering digital downloads via the iTunes store.