More on Apple’s $499 iPhone and other new toys in a moment. But, first, big Hollywood news: Paramount Pictures just announced the debut of its movies for $9.99 purchasing and downloading on the iTunes Store. My analysis? Shrewd move. Clearly Brad Grey doesn’t want to end up like Tom Freston and ousted by Viacom parent company geezer-in-charge Sumner Redstone for failing to embrace all aspects of New Media. It’s like having a gun to his head. (Freston was fired in September for failing to buy MySpace.) Starting this month, over 100 movies come available from Paramount Pictures, Paramount Classics, MTV Films, and Nickelodeon Movies. Titles from Paramount Vantage will be available later in the year. There’ll be a wide range of titles and genres includes comedies School of Rock and Zoolander, action-thrillers like A Sum of All Fears and The Italian Job, also classics Chinatown and Breakfast at Tiffany’s and legendary sci-fi including the first six Star Trek movies to indulge your inner geek. Other Paramount titles coming to the iTunes store include Coach Carter, South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut, Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events and Lara Croft: Tomb Raider. In addition, Paramount’s “Platinum Collection” of concert films will be available for download for the first time including Bob Dylan: No Direction Home, Neil Young: Heart of Gold, U2: Rattle and Hum, and Metallica: Some Kind of Monster. The movies can be viewed on a computer or fifth generation iPod. The studio’s Brad Grey and Apple’s Steve Jobs made the obligatory “we’re excited” statements. Said Grey: “We think iTunes customers are going to love the wide range of titles to choose from, and we look forward to partnering with Apple to make more great Paramount content available in the future.” Said Jobs: “We’re thrilled to add these hit movies and classic titles from Paramount to the growing iTunes movie library.” According to Apple’s stats today, iTunes Store has sold more than 2 billion songs, 50 million television episodes and over 1.3 million full-length films (due to the Disney connection).
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