According to reports, Apple has found a new way to bring movie content to its popular iTunes service without enlisting the help of individual movie studios.

Currently, the major film studios represented on iTunes - Disney, MGM, Lionsgate and Paramount - supply about 1,000 movies. Realising this figure is too small, Apple has begun selling last year's Academy Award-nominated shorts at a cost of $1.99 (£0.97) to drive revenue up.

But in an attempt to get full-length features, Apple has negotiated for these movies directly, rather than work through a distributor. It has offered 55 per cent of the iTunes revenue, which should help the films cover costs.

First full-length independent movie coming to iTunes

One of the most important developments of this plan is the success of a romantic comedy called ' Purple Violets'. The film never attracted theatrical distribution, but the filmmaker decided an iTunes sale would be the most advantageous route to take. The film will be released on iTunes on 20 November and will be the first full-length movie to premiere on Apple's service.

According to Apple, its iTunes service is quite attractive to low budget filmmakers who don't have the notoriety to entice large production studios. Even better, the low cost of doing business with Apple is allowing those filmmakers to defray costs and possibly turn a profit.

For Apple's part, it has found a new way to bring movies to its customers. Whether or not this will attract large movie studios back to iTunes is a different story.