In an effort to jump-start the market for online movies, News Corp.’s Twentieth Century Fox and Apple Inc. are preparing to announce a deal in which Fox movies would be available for rent digitally through Apple’s iTunes Store, according to people familiar with the matter. Apple has for months been trying to persuade the Hollywood studios to agree to a digital rental model, in which consumers would be able to download movies through iTunes that could be played for a limited time. Until now, no studio has agreed to such a deal with Apple, and some companies have continued to resist Apple’s pitch. In a related move, Fox also plans to release DVDs that use Apple’s digital rights management system, a move that would allow consumers to make legal copies of the disc that could be played on an iPod or other device, such as a computer. The moves were reported by the Web site of the Financial Times. Apple already sells movies from some studios via iTunes, which consumers can keep permanently. Walt Disney Co. — where Apple chief executive Steve Jobs is a large shareholder and board member — sells both new releases and catalog titles. Some others, such as Viacom Inc.’s Paramount Pictures, sell only older movie titles through iTunes.
[Read On: Wall Street Journal]