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Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) has secured rights deals with several major film studios, including Warner Bros (NYSE:TWX) and Universal Pictures (NASDAQ:CMCSA), to bring its iTunes films service to the UK, Ireland, Canada, Australia, and 36 other countries around the world. The service was first introduced in the U.S. a year ago and lets users watch movies bought through iTunes on iPhones and iPads without using the device’s storage.
International rights rules force companies like Apple, Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) to strike expensive deals for content in individual countries. Apple’s latest maneuver, which also includes agreements with Disney (NYSE:DIS), Fox (NASDAQ:NWSA), Paramount (NASDAQ:VIAB), and Sony Pictures (NYSE:SNE), gives it a huge advantage over rivals.
Though both Amazon and Google have deals in the U.S. for “music locker” services that let people upload and stream their own music, neither has been able to extend it beyond the home country. Amazon’s Cloud Player is only available in the U.S., while the Google Play store in the UK does not include music, magazines, or TV shows.
Among other countries that received the feature this week are several in Apple’s Latin American markets, including Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Mexico, many Asia-Pacific regions, including Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, and Vietnam, as well as Czech Republic, Hungary, and Slovakia in Europe.
Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) also has multi-nation deals for its iTunes Match service, which lets users stream and download matched copies of songs they own that exist on iTunes, or which have been uploaded to the service, on up to five devices. iTunes Match is now available in a total of 57 countries.
Shares of Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) finished Friday at $604.30.
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