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Starbucks unveils in-house media production unit, Starbucks Studios

The US coffee giant said Starbucks Studio will create premium entertainment to ‘amplify stories with the power to bring people together’

Starbucks has partnered with Los Angeles-based Sugar23 to launch Starbucks Studios | Photo credit: Douglas Bagg


US coffee chain Starbucks has launched a new in-house production unit, Starbucks Studios, to create original entertainment content. 

The Seattle-based business has partnered with Los Angeles-based talent management and multimedia production company Sugar23 to launch the concept which it said will ‘amplify stories with the power to bring people together’. 

Sugar23 has offices in Los Angeles, Nashville and New York and specialises in ‘branded entertainment opportunities’ for large corporations. Its clients include Belgian beverage group ABInbev, US media publication TIME Inc. and consumer goods manufacturer Procter & Gamble. 

“Starbucks Studios advances our mission to nurture the limitless possibilities of human connection. We’re honoured to have the opportunity to shine a light on the stories and people who inspire us, from young, emerging artists to innovators, changemakers and others who are making a positive impact on the world,” said Christy Cain, Vice President, Brand and Partnerships Marketing, Starbucks.  

Starbucks has not yet provided further details on the content it is planning to produce. However, in a joint press release Sugar23 CEO Michael Sugar invited ‘all our collaborators in Hollywood and beyond to join us in creating premium entertainment’, indicating that Starbucks Studios will undertake some of the coffee chain’s most ambitious media projects to-date. 

The news comes three months after Starbucks said it would appoint a Global Brand Creative Leader, who will report to CEO Laxman Narasimhan, to lead it work in the fields of creative art, design, architecture, fashion, publishing and music. 

In 2016, Starbucks released original content series Upstanders, written and produced by former Starbucks Chairman and CEO Howard Schultz alongside and Rajiv Chandrasekaran, Starbucks Executive Producer and a former senior editor at The Washington Post. The series featured 10 stories, told in written, video and podcast form, about ‘ordinary people doing extraordinary things to create positive change in their communities’.  

In 2019 the coffee chain released Hingakawa, a documentary examining the lives of two female coffee farmers in post-genocide Rwanda, and co-produced six-part Amazon Prime documentary This is Football in the same year. 

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