Apple is Bracing for Content Wars in These New Markets

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) nearly doubled the geographic reach of its iTunes media store on Tuesday, adding 56 new countries, including Russia, India, South Africa, and Turkey. The iTunes store is now available in 119 countries, while the company’s App Store for purchases of software applications for Apple’s mobile devices is available in 155 countries.

According to a Bloomberg estimate, the company’s iTunes and mobile and Mac app stores by themselves earn enough revenue to be ranked among the world’s biggest media firms. The iTunes Store brought in total net sales of $7.5 billion during Apple’s fiscal year 2012, up from $5.4 billion in 2011. The business accounts for 5 percent of the company’s total revenue.

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The iTunes store has more than 400 million users and with this new push, approximately 137 million Internet users in India, 68 million in Russia, 37 million in Turkey, and 9 million in South Africa can potentially be roped in, according to The Wall Street Journal. Prices of content will vary from 15 rubles, or $0.48, for a song in Russia to seven rupees, or $0.12, in India. In addition to music downloads, movies and television series will also be available for rent and purchase in Russia, Turkey, India, and Indonesia, to start with.

Apple’s media stores are facing new competition from services launched by rivals such as Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), while existing streaming service providers such as Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) and Pandora (NYSE:P) remain threats.

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