Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Double Chai Latte and the NYTimes for Free Please

For all of you who avoid Bender like the plague and find alternative venues to study in, you might now be motivated to head over to Starbucks (if you weren't a convert before). Evidently, Starbucks is opening up a digital network by the end of the month. The objective is to become the best choice for customers: "What it comes down is a matter of choice. Coffee and tea drinkers have a myriad of options, so for Starbucks it's about motivating the customer to choose its stores, and its digital network content partners by association" (CNN article Starbucks Digital Network is here 10.20.10). What this new digital network will offer is access to the NYTimes's Reader 2.0 subscription only news, as well as access to the Wall Street Journal and USA Today. But it’s not only news that are the nodes in this network.

Starbucks has six channels: News, Entertainment, Wellness, Business and Careers, My Neighborhood and the customer-personalized Starbucks channel. Starbucks believes that these are the areas of most interest to their clientele and they want to ensure that their customers have access. But one of the interesting facets of this network is that those companies who are partnering with Starbuck's on this (NYTimes, Yahoo, Men's Health) are not receiving payment. Simply airtime. Though this is not a new concept, this is a large corporation adopting it--so perhaps this will become viral and food and beverage franchises around the world will begin developing their own networks.

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