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Starbucks Entertainment and Lionsgate Announce a PartnershipPartnership to transform traditional motion picture marketing and distribution model (January 12, 2006)
Starbucks Entertainment to partner with Lionsgate and 2929 Entertainment to promote new film "Akeelah and the Bee"
Starbucks has already demonstrated success in marketing in the entertainment industry with its multifaceted strategy to reconnect its customers with new and unique music options that enhance their overall Starbucks Experience. The Company has since been recognized by entertainment authorities as a significant force in the music industry. Today's announcement extends that powerful reach to film and provides a unique opportunity to elevate an inspirational motion picture to a discerning audience at a time when the industry has seen flat admissions in recent years.
Lionsgate has achieved feature film success with innovative and cost-effective marketing strategies and its focus on large niches that have historically been underserved. The two companies, both renowned for defying conventional orthodoxy, believe that they can collaborate on a unique marketing approach to the domestic box office that reaches a much larger audience and, in the process, maximizes "Akeelah and the Bee's" commercial potential.
Through an innovative and interactive marketing campaign, Starbucks will uniquely engage its store customers in the U.S. and Canada to introduce the film to them. Beginning immediately, Lionsgate and Starbucks will provide a large number of Starbucks baristas the opportunity to screen the film prior to its release. In addition to creating strong buzz and word of mouth among the baristas, in early April Starbucks will launch an in-store promotion to allow millions of Starbucks customers to experience the fun and inspirational feeling of the movie. Starbucks multi-dimensional marketing support includes opportunities for sneak previews for its customers and a Wi-Fi network promotion. Starbucks will also utilize its relationship with XM Satellite Radio to offer special programming on Hear Music Channel 75 on XM Satellite Radio. Beginning April 4, 2006, Starbucks will begin carrying the "Akeelah and the Bee" soundtrack and will carry the DVD when it is available later in 2006.
"While we are a coffee company at heart, Starbucks provides much more than the best cup of coffee -- we offer a community gathering place where people come together to connect and discover new things," said Howard Schultz, Starbucks chairman. "We are always looking for innovative ways to surprise and delight our customers, which is why we are so pleased to be working with Lionsgate on 'Akeelah and the Bee' as the first film to introduce to our customers.
"Over the past year, we viewed countless films and spoke with numerous studios in pursuit of finding the perfect film; we think our customers will appreciate the warmth and authenticity of 'Akeelah and the Bee,'" continued Schultz. "Our customers will find that this film meets the high quality standard they have come to expect from us. And, they can look forward to us introducing them to the movie in a fun, experiential way -- not the way movies have traditionally been marketed by other retailers or quick service restaurants. Just as we have demonstrated with music, we believe that Starbucks can ultimately change the rules of the game for film marketing and distribution."
"This is the ideal blend of two entrepreneurial companies committed to identifying exciting new ways of doing business," said Jon Feltheimer, chief executive officer, Lionsgate. "Our partnership is a new milestone in Lionsgate's continuing commitment to reach potential moviegoers in groundbreaking, nontraditional ways and through innovative new distribution alliances. Along with 2929 Entertainment's principal partners, Mark Cuban and Todd Wagner, we are very excited about 'Akeelah and the Bee.' With millions of customers a week, Starbucks opens a whole new dimension for reaching a much larger audience while preserving our cost-effective marketing strategies."
"Given the success we've experienced with music, this is a logical extension to our entertainment strategy," said Ken Lombard, president, Starbucks Entertainment. "Our goal is always to bring a sense of discovery to our customers while maintaining and enhancing the trust they have in us. In this case we're not only offering a powerful means for an independent film company to reach a valuable consumer base and drive theatrical distribution, we are doing so to enhance the Starbucks Experience. Lionsgate is an extraordinarily entrepreneurial and forward-thinking company. It's a win-win situation."
"As the entertainment industry enters the digital marketplace, we are all looking at a new paradigm -- new alliances and distribution channels that transcend traditional filmed entertainment marketing," said Lionsgate President Steve Beeks, who orchestrated the deal for Lionsgate with Lionsgate President of Acquisitions and Coproductions Peter Block and Lionsgate EVP, Corporate Operations & General Counsel Wayne Levin. "With Starbucks unprecedented promotional campaign, we are reaching millions of customers and potential moviegoers for 'Akeelah,' many of whom would not be targeted by more traditional media and print campaigns."
A heartwarming drama, "Akeelah and the Bee" stars Laurence Fishburne, Angela Bassett and newcomer Keke Palmer in the inspirational story of Akeelah Anderson, a precocious 11-year-old girl who advances from the inner city of South Los Angeles to the Scripps National Spelling Bee, uniting her friends, neighbors and skeptical family in a story of courage that overcomes countless obstacles, defies conventional wisdom and underscores the limitless possibilities of hope, talent and faith.
A Lionsgate and 2929 Entertainment production, "Akeelah and the Bee" was written and directed by Doug Atchison. The film's producers are Sid Ganis, Nancy Ganis, Michael Romersa, Daniel Llewelyn and Laurence Fishburne; executive producers are Todd Wagner, Mark Cuban, Marc Butan, Helen Sugland and Lionsgate's Michael Burns, Michael Paseornek and Tom Ortenberg.
Lionsgate is the premier independent producer and distributor of motion pictures, television programming, home entertainment, family entertainment and video-on-demand content. Its prestigious and prolific library is a valuable source of stable, recurring revenue and is a foundation for the growth of the Company's core businesses. The Lionsgate brand name is synonymous with original, daring, quality entertainment in markets around the globe. www.lgf.com
About Starbucks Entertainment
Starbucks Entertainment's first film offering follows a very successful year for the Company's music strategy. Starbucks Hear Music executed initiatives such as the co-production of the GRAMMY(R) Award-winning Ray Charles Genius Loves Company album, as well as the exclusive offering of the ten year anniversary acoustic recording of Alanis Morissette's Jagged Little Pill. More recently Starbucks Hear Music co-produced and launched its first global CD release: Herbie Hancock's Possibilities, which is available simultaneously at Starbucks and traditional music retail worldwide, and which has been nominated for two GRAMMY(R)s, marking the second year in a row in which an album Starbucks Hear Music co-released has received multiple GRAMMY(R) nominations. Year one of Starbucks Hear Music's strategy also included co-releasing the first officially sanctioned, professionally produced version of Bob Dylan's rare, historic 1962 "Gaslight" sessions, another Starbucks exclusive, and the unveiling of the Hear Music(TM) Coffeehouses in Miami and San Antonio, which feature the next generation of the Hear Music(TM) media bars, enabling customers to burn a custom CD of their choice from a selection of more than one million digital tracks.
About Starbucks Coffee Company
Starbucks Coffee Company is the leading retailer, roaster and brand of specialty coffee in the world, with more than 10,500 retail locations in North America, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East and the Pacific Rim. The Company is committed to offering the highest quality coffee and the Starbucks Experience while conducting its business in ways that produce social, environmental and economic benefits for communities in which it does business. In addition to its retail operations, the Company produces and sells bottled Frappuccino(R) coffee drinks, Starbucks DoubleShot(R) coffee drink, and a line of superpremium ice creams through its joint venture partnerships. The Company's brand portfolio provides a wide variety of consumer products -- innovative superpremium Tazo(R) teas and exceptional compact discs from Starbucks Hear Music enhance the Starbucks Experience through best-of-class products. The Seattle's Best Coffee(R) and Torrefazione Italia(R) Coffee brands enable Starbucks to appeal to a broader consumer base by offering an alternative variety of coffee flavor profiles.
For more information visit www.starbucks.com.
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