In just one week, Apple's iTunes Store generated $1 million in movie sales for Walt Disney, and that's "just the beginning", the head of Disney said on Tuesday.
By the end of this year, Disney expects to reap $50 million in movie sales through the iTunes Store "at no marketing expense to us at all", said Robert Iger, CEO of Disney, at a conference put on by The Goldman Sacks Group and webcast over the internet.
Disney became the first company to offer movies through the iTunes Store last week, a total of 75 films including new titles such as Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, and older classics such as The Incredibles and Cinderella.
The initial success of the venture, with over 125,000 Disney titles sold in a week, should help boost confidence in the internet as a lucrative place for entertainment companies to deliver content to users. It should also help allay fears over movie piracy, an issue the movie and recording industry has fought a tough battle against.
"We are very, very bullish on consumption over electronically delivered media and we're taking a very optimistic view of technology as a friend, or a great enabler, and not a great predator," Iger said.
Disney plans to expand the number of movies it offers through iTunes and the number of web-based stores where users can buy its movies. "This is not exclusive to Apple," he said.
During the Goldman conference, Iger also praised Apple CEO Steve Jobs and his performance as a Disney board member for bringing in his ideas on new opportunities for media in the internet age.
"He has become, very quickly, not only a great sounding board but a great advisor, someone I can turn to readily for advice in a lot of these areas," said Iger.
Jobs became a major shareholder and board member of Disney after the media and entertainment giant bought computer animation studio Pixar earlier this year. Jobs had been head of Pixar and a major shareholder in the company.
An audio webcast of comments by Iger is available here.