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'High School Musical' On iTunes

16 Mar, 2006 By: Jessica Wolf

Disney's High School Musical is the first feature film to arrive on iTunes, up for download on the site as of March 15. The teenybopper musical dramedy hits DVD more than two months later, on May 23.

High School Musical premiered on The Disney Channel in January and has been in repeat airings since.

Judging from early consumer responses at the iTunes store, High School Musical is not only getting quite a reception in it's own right, but has tapped into a missing element for iTunes download lovers — feature film.

“I want movies. Movies, movies, movies,” one exuberant poster wrote. “As long as they don't cost as much as a DVD.”

Aside from some grumbling about the $9.99 price, technical difficulties with the 93-minute download, and the lack of ability to burn it to a disc, iTunes users are largely squealing over seeing the movie available on the site and hoping there's more in store.

Disney decided to offer the full feature-film download after seeing how popular the soundtrack, singles and music videos were on iTunes said Karen Hobson, Disney spokesperson.

There have been about a million downloads of audio tracks from the made-for-Disney-channel film, she said. Three of the top 20 video downloads on iTunes March 16 were from High School Musical.

Right now, the supplier has no plans to offer other feature films on the site, or to offer the full download of a TV season before the DVDs come out, Hobson said.

She said iTunes offerings are still mostly about research and experimentation. The site has been offering video downloads for only six months, not quite long enough to know for sure how it will affect windows in general.

“We're thrilled with how well our shows are doing on the service,” Hobson said. “We are using it to discover who are the users, what do they like, what works for them?”

One surprising thing Disney has discovered, she said, is how many people are downloading and viewing videos on their computers, rather than iPods.

That might be especially good news for a program like High School Musical, which mostly appeals to tweens.

Or, as one rather skeptical iTunes user put it: “How many grade schoolers have video iPods?”

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