The Walt Disney Corporation last night confirmed it has sold over five million films through the iTunes Store since it began doing so. Company president and CEO, Rob Iger revealed this in an in-depth response to a question from Lehman Brothers analyst, Anthony DiClemente, during the company’s Q3 financial call.
“I happen to believe and my senior management team agrees with me,” he said, “that in a world where more and more people are migrating online or to their computer to access both information and entertainment, that the Walt Disney Company would be served well by having a very strong presence in that environment,” he said
Iger stressed that the presence of Apple boss Steve Jobs (the largest individual Disney shareholder) on the board makes no difference to the company’s decisions on whether to sell content on iTunes, but whether that’s completely correct or not, is less relevant than Iger’s insights on digital.
He added: “I happen to believe that unless we occupy space in those platforms, the company will be, and other companies in the traditional media space, will be marginalized. So I think that what we have been doing from a strategic perspective and from a bottom line perspective is absolutely the right thing and I also believe that our ability to monetize will become more and more evident, because what you are seeing is you are seeing expansion of the marketplace, meaning you are seeing an increase in consumption.”
Iger described the five million films sold through iTunes as, “largely incremental,” to the main film business, noting the company to have protected its margins – but in a moments lucid thinking, added, “but I think focusing on margins is not necessarily the only thing that you should focus on. The fact of the matter is consumption is increasing.”
Iger also confirmed new Disney/Pixar movie, Wall-E, to have generated $200 million at US box office so far, and promised, “an enhanced version of Disney.com, making even more compelling a rich, event-filled family entertainment site that drew a record 30 million unique visitors in June.”