Apple and News Corporation have signed an agreement to offer Twentieth Century Fox movies for rent through the iTunes Music Store, claims a report in the Financial Times.

A later report from the New York Times claims Apple to be reaching similar deals with other film companies, warning that when the deal is (supposedly) revealed next month, Fox representatives will be joined by others to announce the new service.

Users would be able to download the latest Twentieth Century Fox movies from iTunes and view them for a limited time, the Financial Times reported, citing "a person familiar with the situation."

As part of the agreement, Twentieth Century Fox will use Apple's FairPlay digital rights management technology in future DVD releases, marking the first time someone other than Apple has used the technology, the report said. Using this technology would allow users to copy movies from a DVD onto an iPod, it said.

The deal between Apple and Twentieth Century Fox will "likely" be announced on 14 January at the Macworld Expo in San Francisco, the Financial Times said.

Besides Twentieth Century Fox, Apple is holding similar talks about online movie rentals and FairPlay with Sony Pictures Entertainment, Paramount and Warner Bros., the Financial Times said.

Apple, which saw its share price top $200 for the first time during Christmas week, currently offers some movies from Walt Disney and other studios on iTunes, but these are only available for purchase, not for rent.