A Triple Grande Latte with a Side of iTunes: Starbucks Launches Their Digital Network




The last time I was in a Starbucks, I was surprised to see a large number of patrons hunched over laptops and iphones as they silently sipped their trendy drinks, completely ignoring the actual human sitting across from them. I imagine it’s this need to be virtually connected at all hours of the day and night that has led Starbucks to launch their own digital network.

Working in partnership with Yahoo! the Starbucks Digital Network offers in-store Wi-Fi users a taste of new music, local news and events and the low down on the latest lifestyle must haves.

In a company press release, Stephen Gillett, Starbucks executive vice president, chief information officer and Digital Ventures general manager (and geez, by the time you finish calling him, he’s late for dinner) had this to say:

“Our customers are the inspiration for the Starbucks Digital Network. They’ve told us they want to be the first to know what’s happening in their neighborhoods and around the globe, to have an easy way to discover new music, great books and important films and find ways to be more involved in their communities.

These points combined with our passion for creating a unique customer experience, our heritage of recommending culturally-relevant works and focus on giving back to the community, led us to create this new, one-of-a-kind, localized content experience with Yahoo!.”

The first network of its kind, the Starbucks Digital Network presents hand-picked content in six channels: News, Entertainment, Wellness, Business & Careers, My Neighborhood and Starbucks. For the first week out, Starbucks is offering a couple of freebies that fit in with their bohemian style. Music lovers will get two free songs from the band “Fistful of Mercy.”  Book lovers will get an excerpt from Anita Shreve’s new novel “Rescue.” Movie lovers will get a special clip from “Waiting for Superman” and when they buy a ticket, they’ll get $15 credit at Donorschoose.org which supports classroom projects all over the US. For more added value, the network offers free access to a variety of subscription-based services such as the New York Times, WSJ.com and USA Today eEdition.

Starbucks calls the content on the network “snackable,” saying there is something for the person who spends ten minutes waiting for their order but also for the person who wants to spend an hour winding down with a coffee and the news.

Here are some of the channel highlights:

Entertainment:

iTunes features music and videos as well as the digital version of the successful Starbucks/ iTunes Pick of the Week card program.

Bookish Reading Club offers free access to great books each week from numerous publishers including Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins, Penguin Group (USA) and Simon & Schuster.

New Word City offers stories and groundbreaking ideas from some of the world’s most inspiring and instructive authors including Captain Mike Abrashoff, Jim Champy, Juan Enriquez, Jeffrey Gitomer, Seth Godin, John Kao, Don Tapscott and Alan Webber.

SnagFilms opens launch with a series of music documentaries including “Buena Vista Social Club,” “Girls Rock,” “Heavy Metal in Baghdad,” “Kurt and Courtney,” “Dig” and powerful films on Biggie & Tupac, the Flaming Lips, Jimi Hendrix and others. Moving forward, SnagFilms and Starbucks will co-curate monthly themed film festivals for the network.

For those with kids in tow, Nick Jr. Boost offers free access to its complete, personalized educational program for early learners and their parents.

Wellness

Rodale offers specialized digital content including articles, recipes and videos from Rodale.com, Men’s Health, Women’s Health, Runner’s World, Bicycling, Prevention, Organic Gardening and Eat This, Not That! as well as a custom “Map Your Ride, Map by Run” app that helps customers find new routes in their local community for fitness or fun.

Business & Careers

LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network with more than 80 million members across the globe, heads up the Business & Careers channel and offers early access to a career-focused blog, an exclusive video on job seeking tips hosted by Lindsey Pollak.

Yahoo! Finance will feature Laura Rowley’s Money & Happiness blog and How-to Guides bringing financial advice and tips to the network.

My Neighborhood

Foursquare, Patch and Zagat will all provide localized data.

Says  Adam Brotman, Starbucks Digital Ventures vice president:

“What you see today, is only the beginning. Expect more localized content and community features in the future, more ways to personalize your experience, new ways to be rewarded and an ever-growing collection of premium content.”

The network went live in nearly 6,800 U.S. company-operated Starbucks on Oct. 20.

  • http://arcanasphere.com/ AndrewJ

    I actually go to StarBucks so that I can have a quiet place to write my podcast. Otherwise I’m on my lunch break being interrupted by people who never need anything at 4:15pm or I’m at home being jumped on my children.

    Um.. I don’t really care about this other stuff. Given what I have seen about most of the people at StarBucks, they probably do. So, my best wishes to all of them.