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Monday, December 05, 2005, 01:00 pm PT (04:00 pm ET)

ESPN mulls deal with Apple\'s iTunes download service

Walt Disney Co.'s ESPN cable sports network is mulling a deal to distribute some television programs on Apple's iTunes music and video service, possibly joining its corporate cousin ABC in a landmark deal, according to Reuters

Although ESPN has not yet held talks with Apple, the top rated cable sports network is looking to deliver its lineup of original shows and game clips to "any pipe, any device," said ESPN and ABC Sports president George Bodenheimer at the UBS global media conference.

"We're not just in the TV business anymore ... We're going to the table as a sports media company," Bodenheimer said.

ESPN is just one of several networks to recently express interest in providing content over Apple's iTunes download service. Among the others are CBS Digital, which recently confirmed that it had held talks with Apple, and Fox and Clear Channel, both of which are reportedly "open" to iTunes deals.

Apple's iTunes video download service has been hailed as nothing short of a hit, selling more than 1 million videos at $1.99 in its first 20 days. Analysts have since gone on record to say they believe Apple has sold well over 2 million videos since October 12th, when the service first launched.

It's also believed that Apple plans to announce a major update to its video download service early next year, which would include a plethora of new content partners and possibly feature films.