First came the songs, then music videos and TV shows, and now Apple may be bringing movies to your home computer or video iPod. Apple took the first step on Tuesday by making the Disney Channel original film “High School Musical” available for a $9.99 download price. The made-for-TV movie is already widely popular among the “tween” set. The music soundtrack is highly sought-after on the iTunes site — one of its songs is currently listed as the second most popular download in the soundtrack category.
“It shows how fast digital media technology is moving. The iTunes moniker is already wrong,” said Phil Leigh, a senior analyst for Inside Digital Media Inc. “It’s moving more quickly than Steve Jobs and Apple anticipated.”
Several Web sites who closely monitor Apple, such as MacRumors.com, have reported this is the first feature-length film to be offered for download on iTunes and suggest this may signal a move toward a greater release in the near future.
“Apple is widely expected to offer an iTunes Movie service in the coming weeks, but reports indicate that licensing negotiations are holding up the release,” the Web site posted last night. But Allen Weiner, an analyst for Gartner Inc., said it’s not necessarily a question of offering television versus movies, but what the total experience is for the user. The length of the film could be categorized as a short film or an extended television show.
“I don’t believe Apple or any others look at content in old-fashioned ways. Content is content. What they’re doing is basing their decisions on what’s going to be popular and fit into the experience,” he said. “Apple is thriving because the customer experience is simple and almost
transparent.” Full-length feature films, however, can be time-consuming to download, Weiner says. (The 99-minute “High School Musical” file weighs in at 487 megabytes.) He sees the bigger idea for the launch of this particular movie is as a vehicle for Apple and Disney to test joint projects.