Company: Buena Vista Worldwide Home Entertainment
How he’s leading: In September, Disney became the first — and for now only — studio to offer movie downloads through Apple’s popular iTunes service, which almost overnight became the leading seller of movie downloads. Disney said in November that it had sold 500,000 movie downloads through iTunes in the first couple months, a staggering number considering rival sites are only selling several hundred digital copies of the most popular new releases.
But the low cost of those iTunes downloads and Disney’s leadership role hasn’t pleased everyone — DVD sales leaders Wal-Mart and Target both threatened to cut back retail support of Disney DVDs because of it. They’ve since backed off.
Even while it experiments with new models and formats — Disney put out the first hi-def bonus features for Blu-ray — the studio under Chapek is having one of its most successful DVD sales years. Fourth-quarter releases “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest” and “Cars” are on track to be the No. 1 and 2 DVD sellers in 2006, with “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” and “The Little Mermaid” close behind.
POV: “It’s a market that’s in its infancy right now,” Chapek says of the download biz. “Our strategy is to sift through all the digital technologies out there and see which ones are viable and test, test, test.”
Homevid Leader Report: