Disney Channel Movie Being Sold On iTunes; Network Says It’s A One-Off For Now

: Another first for Apple and Disney: Disney Channel hit “High School Musical” becomes the first movie — albeit made for cable — to be sold on iTunes. (Disney calls it the “first made-for-TV musical” on iTunes.) Even more interesting, it’s available for $9.99 weeks before the scheduled DVD release date; the DVD will have numerous extras expected to appeal to a different audience than the downloaders.
Even though Apple clearly is on a trajectory for a movie service, Disney spokesperson Karen Hobson tells me it’s not the start of a Disney movie library on iTunes (I’ll add, at least for now.) “We’re constantly looking at other programming to ad but don’t have any plans to offer any any other kind of long-form downloads,” Hobson said.
The decision grew out of “High School Musical”‘s unexpected success on iTunes. As we’ve already written about, the digital download sales from the kids flick were a phenomenon, even driving a single to #1 on the Billboard digital tracks chart. The single downloads were available only on iTunes; more than 500,000 sold by the end of February. The sound track, also on the charts, has been reviewed on iTunes more than 5,500 times. Several music videos also quickly gained traction. “It became very apparent that fans of ‘High School Musical’ are iTunes customers and iTunes consumers,” says Hobson. Disney also knew early on they had a hit with online legs — within 24 hours of the Jan. 20 premiere, DisneyChannel.com had a record 1.2 million unique visitors.

Apple mistakenly priced the movie at $1.99 at first, pulled it down and now it’s $9.99.
Related: Disney’s Cable Kid Flick Hit Spurs Music Downloads