Wippit strikes deal for Beatles footage

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LONDON - U.K. digital download service Wippit will offer rare footage documenting the rise of the Beatles as part a new deal forged with archive specialist ITN Source.

Through the international agreement, unveiled today, content from content providers British Pathe, Reuters and ITN collections will be offered through Wippit for the first time since it originally aired.

A range of Beatles interviews and news stories are covered, including an interview with guitarist George Harrison on his 21st birthday, the band meeting the Queen Elizabeth, and interviews with the group on the set of the feature film "Help!"

Other unlocked footage will include Paul McCartney's admission to taking LSD, Harrison's arrest for drug-taking and the backlash to Lennon's controversial comment to the Evening Standard newspaper that the band was "more popular than Jesus."

In a statement, Wippit founder and CEO Paul Myers comments, "Being able to offer fans of The Beatles behind the scenes moments and insights to what the made the greatest band ever tick, is invaluable."

He adds, "We believe that interest particularly from Japan and other parts of Asia will open up Wippit to whole new audience."

Wippit will offer the video downloads to all territories except North America, with prices ranging from £0.49 ($0.95), and from £4.99 ($8.67) for bundles.

Details of the arrangement will bring closure to a wave of press speculation which erupted after the online music store on Monday unwittingly revealed on its Web site just the headline of its press announcement, which proclaimed "The Beatles available for download on Wippit."

Sections of the British media jumped at the headline as a sign that Wippit may have scored digital music business's "Holy Grail" -- a legitimate agreement to offer the Beatles catalog digitally.
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