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Pixar sells 125,000 flicks through iTunes

And Cars will 'take your breath away'

Pixar Animation Studios sold 125,000 short movie clips through iTunes in just under one month, the company revealed this week.

Pixar (and Apple) CEO Steve Jobs was speaking to analysts to discuss his animation company's third quarter results.

I know you, you know me

He confirmed "deep" discussions with Disney over resurrecting the Pixar/Disney distribution deal, a personal liking for new Disney CEO Bib Iger and that three more movies would follow the release of Pixar's next flick, Cars.

For the quarter, Pixar earned $27m (£16m) on revenues of $46m (£26m). These results compare to earnings of $22m (£13m) on revenues of $45m (£25m), achieved in the year-ago quarter.

For the nine months ended 1 October 2005, Pixar earned $122m (£69m) on revenues of $234m (£134m). This compares to earnings of $87m (£49m) on revenues of $165m (£94m) for the nine months ended 2 October 2004.

"Our performance this quarter highlights the ongoing value of our growing film library," said Jobs. "Looking forward, the marketing campaign for Cars, our studio's seventh feature film, is revving up as we prepare for its release next June. It is going to take your breath away."

In a Q&A session with analysts, Jobs talked extensively about his company's relationship with Disney.

"I like Disney's Bob Iger a lot," he said, stressing that Disney is Pixar's "first choice" of distribution partner. He described forthcoming movie Cars as the "cap" of a "new chapter" with Disney.

The distribution deal with Disney is scheduled to end after the release of Cars.

Stealing habits

Apple-watchers may be interested in some of Jobs' comments as regards iTunes and film piracy.

"The biggest problem with downloading feature-length films through iTunes is bandwidth, it takes too long in US," he explained.

He confirmed his belief that illegal digital sharing of movies is taking place, but stressed: "There is some evidence that shows people downloading movies illegally wouldn't have bought them anyway."

Jobs believes the best strategy to deal with such problems is to create better legal alternatives to help keep honest consumers honest, and prevent them getting into the habit of stealing: "Hollywood has some time to put in place legal alternatives," he said.

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