Starbucks eyes film

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Having won multiple Grammy Awards, Starbucks wants an Oscar.

The coffee chain, which has become a player in music distribution, is making plans to expand into offering films to its customers.

"Film is a natural progression for us," Ken Lombard, president of Starbucks Entertainment, said during a panel discussion at Advertising Age's Madison & Vine conference. With 33 million customer visits each week, he added, "We are in a position to really change the game."

Mr. Lombard said Starbucks has not decided whether it would create and distribute unique content, sell DVDs of existing films, offer digital downloads of movies or pursue all of the above.

In music, the chain creates and sells CDs in stores and is rolling out media bars where customers can legally download music and burn customized CDs for a fee.

Film studios are looking for new outlets, in part to combat the threat of digital piracy, and several studios have already talked to Starbucks about the film concept. "As we are successful in music, there will be lots of opportunities presented to us," Mr. Lombard said.

Starbucks' sale of 612,000 copies of the Grammy-winning Ray Charles CD "Genius Loves Company" gives the chain permission to expand its entertainment offerings, Mr. Lombard said.

Coffee and food still account for 96% of Starbucks' sales. Analysts estimate that entertainment contributes less than 1% of revenue.

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