US iPod users can look forward to new downloadable videos as media companies make online an integral part of their strategy.

Apple has sold three million videos since the video iPod's debut in October.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs told USA Today the figure: "Far exceeds our initial expectations."

He added that video iPod sales are strong: "It's no secret that we're shipping a lot."

Expect more from NBC

Apple also revealed a new deal with NBC Universal in which many new shows were made available through iTunes earlier this week.

NBC intends making even more video available through the service, company president Jeff Zucker told Variety: "You are going to see a series of announcements in the coming weeks," he said. "Eventually, a goal is to get all of our shows up there."

The Variety report confirms Apple began speaking with NBC in spring. The report also confirms that part of NBC's rationale for the deal was an attempt to provide a legal alternative to illegal TV show downloads. "NBC estimates that there are 430,000 illegal downloads of 'Battlestar Galactica' each week," the report adds.

"It proves there is tremendous interest in it and good people have developed bad habits by illegally downloading it. Now they will have to develop good habits," Zucker said.

It's thought some highlights from 'Bravo' will appear on iTunes in the coming weeks.

More networks will sign-up

Analysts believe Apple is likely to ink similar deals with a plethora of partners. Shaw Wu of American Technology Research said: "We do not believe we are anywhere near the end for content partnership; we foresee future deals potentially from CBS, Fox, and others."

Wu had been expecting new partners for the iTunes service, but observed that the "timing and magnitude" of the NBC deal was faster and broader than he had anticipated.

Wu estimates iTunes will see video sales grow to about 80,000 video downloads per day versus 50,000 per day in the first month.

Fox preps The Family Guy

Many reports have looked at Fox, suggesting that company will also make movies available online. Media Week this week confirms the broadcaster's plans.

Fox will soon make original episodes of cult US series 'The Family Guy' available for Internet distribution. Downloadable shows will be available by early next year on and and will cost $1.99 each. It's unlikely Fox will leave market-leader iTunes in the cold, but any iTunes plans have not been confirmed.

Curiously, 'The Family Guy' was one of the most traded shows on peer-to-peer networks.

A subsequent DVD release containing episodes of the show generated huge sales, which some analysts speculate means that the file-sharing activity helped build interest in the show.