Disney’s iTunes sales hit 125,000

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Disney has sold 125,000 online film downloads less than a week after agreeing to make its titles available on Apple’s iTunes store.

The sales have added about $1m in incremental revenue to the media company, according to chief executive Bob Iger, who expressed confidence that revenues from the new film venture could reach $50m in its first year.

“Clearly, customers are saying to us that they want content available in multiple ways,” Mr Iger said at an investor conference sponsored by Goldman Sachs.

Disney broke with other Hollywood studios when it agreed last week to make 75 titles available on iTunes at prices ranging from $9.99 to $14.99.

Other Hollywood studios have also talked about ramping up digital distribution as a way to combat piracy and as a new source of growth at a time when sales of DVDs, their largest source of revenue, are slowing

However, they have taken a slower approach so far - partly out of fear of antagonising Wal-Mart, who they rely on as the largest seller of DVDs.

The volume of Disney sales was particularly noteworthy because they occurred without the benefit of Apple’s new iTV device, which will allow consumers to send iTunes files from their computer to their television. It is expected to go on sale early next year

Mr Iger, who on Tuesday called the iTV “a game-changer”, said Disney would add new films to iTunes as soon as it was able to clear their legal rights.

He also shed light on his relationship with Steve Jobs, the Apple chief executive who has become Disney’s largest shareholder and a member of its board: “For me, he has become just a tremendous sounding board,” Mr Iger said, noting that he regularly turns to Mr Jobs for advice on new media strategies.

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