Starbucks launches Digital Network
launched the Starbucks Digital Network, an exclusive content hub
designed to enrich the in-store experience for its customers.
hub, which is only accessible via Starbucks’ in-house Wi-Fi network,
will feature a variety of news, music, video clips, and e-books.
Starbucks made its Wi-Fi service available free-of-charge in all 12,000
locations in North America earlier this year and records about 30
million log-ins per month.
At launch, the content will be gathered
into six separate sections: News, Entertainment, Wellness, Business
& Careers, My Neighborhood, and Starbucks.
Starbucks CIO and
GM of Digital Media, Stephen Gillet, suggests additional categories
could be added later. “We had gaming in there originally, but as we
talked to our customers and looked at what was important to them, we
found out a lot of information about the content categories,” Gillett
said in an interview with MediaBistro. “Local was a big one, health and wellness, hard news. They will evolve over time.”
teamed up with Yahoo! to build the network and the bulk of the content
will also be sourced from third-parties. For example, The Wall Street
Journal and The New York Times will provide news, iTunes will make music
downloads available, and a number of publishers, including
HarperCollins and Simon and Schuster, will contribute to a book club.
Many of the partner services are subscription only on the web but they will be available free-of-charge on the Digital Network.
surveys suggest that local content will be particularly important. As
customers will be logged onto the in-house Wi-Fi, the Starbucks servers
will know exactly where customers are and can customize content by city,
neighborhood, and even nearby streets. Although the potential for both
national and local advertizing is obvious, the chain plans on keeping
the network relatively add-free, at least in the beginning.