Starbucks Gets an Agent
By George Anderson
There’s no doubt about it. Starbucks has definitely gone Hollywood.
The coffee chain announced yesterday that it had authorized the Hollywood talent agency, William Morris, to help it identify film, music and book projects for distribution through its stores.
Starbucks founder Howard Schultz has always maintained that the company is about lifestyle and not simply a chain of coffee shops.
“We believe Starbucks is a very powerful distribution channel,” Mr. Schultz said in a news release, “which is why we are so pleased to be working with the largest diversified talent and literacy agency in the world, William Morris Agency, to bring our customers even more forms of entertainment.”
The CEO of William Morris, Jim Wiatt, said, “As they extend their reach into broader forms of entertainment, we couldn’t be more pleased and honored to be working with Starbucks.”
Starbucks has enjoyed success with its distribution of music titles such as Ray Charles’ album of duets, Genius Loves Company, but it has gotten off to something of a slow start with its first venture into the movie business.
The company signed an agreement to market Lionsgate’s Akeelah and the Bee, but the film got off to a slow start at the box office despite a three-month build-up in Starbucks’ stores and web site.
Starbucks did not invest in the production of the movie and it has no plans to do so in the future, said Mr. Schultz.
Moderator’s Comment: What is your reaction to Starbucks hiring the William Morris Agency to help it find entertainment
projects to market? Is Starbucks about lifestyle and not just its beverages as Howard Schultz preaches? –
George Anderson – Moderator