About a year ago I interviewed a man named Winter, who had set out to drink a coffee in every Starbucks on the planet. It was an ambitious goal given the rate of growth this company is experiencing, but he has not given up the chase.
In January of 2006, he had visited more than 4,500 locations. Last week, Winter wrote me to say that he is up to 6,800 locations, including locations in 9 countries and Puerto Rico.
So in about 14 months he has visited roughly 2,300 Starbucks stores, or 6 per day. Has any Starbucks employee visited this many locations? Perhaps somebody at corporate should give this guy a job.
And now there’s a documentary coming out about Winter’s exploits: Starbucking, the story of a man with a dream and a coffee craving.
In advertisign and in entertainment, it is very difficult to create humor that travels. Slapstick comedy generally does better than cerebral comedy, but you’re likely to have better luck taking a cops and robbers film global than a romantic comedy.
According to the WSJ (sub required), Comedy Central is going global, but with a distinctly local touch. Says the article, “In January, Viacom began airing a German version of its Comedy Central network, in a strategy the company hopes will strengthen its toehold in one of the world’s biggest media markets. It’s the second international foray for Comedy Central after Poland, which debuted with a small digital channel in October.”
Here’s a screen shot of the German site:
Comedy Central is mixing dubbed American comedies with locally produced shows. It’s focusing on large markets only and it’s open to simply licensing the name to local partners.
Meanwhile, MTV, which offers 64 international MTV channels, is pulling out of on some of its countries. For all its international coverage, the WSJ says the network is barely covering costs.
Viacom brings in only about 10% of its revenues from abroad, well behind the curve as global companies go.
Which is probably why Sumner Redstone is comfortable taking the risk. Viacam can’t really afford not to expand its brands globally. Says the article, “Mr. Redstone defends Viacom’s strategy on comedy, saying he faced similar doubts 20 years ago about MTV, which critics derided as a fad. ‘In every place in the world, people are interested in comedy, just like with music and kids” programming, he says.”
Expedia just reported quarterly numbers and the contrast between domestic growth and international growth is strartling: 1% US growth vs. 25% international growth for Q4.
Granted, international travel is booming these days. But had Expedia not invested in Web globalization — which it began before 2005 — it would not be in the position to capture this growth. Expedia.com offered five localized Web sites in 2005 and seven last year.
According to the WSJ (sub required), “Expedia said its international results were driven by strong performances in Canada, the U.K., Germany, France, Italy, China, Australia and Japan.”