High School Musical: Putting Energy into Synergy


Image result for high school musical
Image of the main characters in High School Musical

High School Musical (2006) captures the hearts of a wide audience. The film speaks to children and adults, music and film lovers, teen drama enthusiasts and many more audiences. This ability to capture the hearts of many, is an example of a film that takes advantage of a term called “synergy“. Jennifer Holt, the author of Empires of Entertainment describes the term synergy as follows.

 “In practice, synergy was the principle upon which media conglomerates were built during the 1980s and 1990s in order to exploit the rapidly imploding boundaries between film, television, and cable, and between various production, distribution, and exhibition outlets” (3).

In other words, synergy is the process of multiple companies working together to produce products across different platforms, benefiting each other in the process.

Image result for synergy

In a contemporary setting, take High School Musical. The fun and excitement did not stop at simply the film. In the early 2000s, CDs including the entire soundtrack of the film were released to encourage fans to listen to the catchy songs that were incorporated. There were even video games created for fans to continue enjoying the story line and to potentially even play their favorite character. Nintendo DS games were created, and even different merchandise was produced. Stores were filled with the new popular film at the time, which would to continue to produce two more films.

It is an extremely strategic move for several different industries, (in this case the film, gaming, music, & many more industries) to work together to interest movie goers, music finatics, and gamers to show their love and passion for High School Musical across various different platforms.

Back before the Nintendo DS was invented and CDs were popularly listened to in CD players, Disney still utilized the process of synergy across different media platforms. Holt describes it as follows.

 “…indeed, Disney had been cross-promoting film properties, television series, music, and theme parks, and behaving like a bona-fide media conglomerate since the mid-1950s” (156).

The idea of synergy is not new to Disney as it has been going on since the mid-1950s. New inventions will change where synergy is utilized, yet the process itself will remain the same.


Holt, Jennifer. Empires of Entertainment: Media Industries and the Politics of Deregulation, 1980-1996. Rutgers University Press, 2011.

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