NEW YORK – Apple Computer (AAPL) on Monday said its iTunes online service has sold a million videos in under 20 days, sending shares up almost 5 percent.
iTunes, the most popular online music store, began selling about 2,000 music videos and episodes of ABC's "Desperate Housewives" and "Lost" for $1.99 on October 12.
The debut coincided with the launch of a new generation of Apple's iPod (search) digital music player that can play video on its 2.5-inch color screen.
Technology, media and Wall Street analysts are eyeing Apple's performance for validation that a market for legal downloading of videos exists.
Topping the list of big sellers were music videos by Michael Jackson, Fatboy Slim (search) and Kanye West (search), as well as episodes of ABC shows.
"Selling one million videos in less than 20 days strongly suggests there is a market for legal downloads," Steve Jobs (search), Apple CEO, said in a statement. "Our next challenge is to broaden our content offerings."
At the service's launch, Walt Disney's (DIS) ABC was the only nonmusic programming provider aside from Jobs' Pixar Animation Studios (search), which is also providing short films for the service.
Sources have said Apple is in discussions to lure more U.S. television networks to provide programming.
Apple shares gained $2.63, or 4.8 percent, to $57.10; Shares of RealNetworks (RNWK), which operates a rival online music service, gained 37 cents, or 4.9 percent to $7.87 on the Nasdaq in afternoon trade.