NYT: Apple Finding New Movie Sources for iTunes

Stymied by some big studios, Apple is working with smaller film makers in order to bolster its film library, according to David Halbfinger of the New York Times on Tuesday.

One example has been the Edward Burns film, Purple Violets. It wasnit picked up by distributors, so Mr. Burns and his partners have struck an exclusive deal with Apple, and the movie will go on sale in iTunes November 20th.

This is the first time a feature film will make a commercial debut on iTunes.

While Disney, Lionsgate, MGM and Paramount offer a limited number of film titles on iTunes, the total titles is still less than 1,000, and Apple needs some momentum to keep their iTunes movie business viable.

Apple "is in a little bit of a crisis now, said James L. McQuivey, a media analyst at Forrester Research. Mr. McQuivey noted that the Apple TV has not been a big success. However, Apple put a positive spin on things. "We?re really at the beginning stage in the movie space," said Eddy Cue, Apple?s vice president for iTunes. "Of course we want all of the Hollywood movies," he added. "But we do like the fact that we can be a great distribution vehicle for the little guys."

In fact, Apple could be on to something. Tiffany Shlain, who filmed a documentary short on Jewish Americans, "The Tribe," and showed it a the Sundance Film Festival noted that it went on sale in iTunes October 2nd with great success. She said that iTunes had actually made it advantageous, in a way, to make short films.

For now, getting customers accustomed to new, if obscure, film products and watching them in new ways may be Appleis best card to play.