UPDATE: See the end of this post for a link to screen grabs and first impressions of the Starbucks Digital Network experience.
Starbucks is giving customers one more reason to stop in, and to stick around, with Starbucks Digital Network. In a partnership with Yahoo, its taking exclusive content and free downloads that are only available to customers tapping into the wifi at one of it's thousands of retail locations.
Double Shot of Content
Customers with wireless devices are typically pushed to a branded site to accept terms of service before hitting the web. What was once a unavoidable nuisance is now a digital destination.
According to Starbucks: news, books, video and music will be available including free subscription editions of The Wall Street Journal, New York Times and USA Today, exclusive iTunes downloads and unlimited access to Zagat reviews and ratings -- all for free.
Rise of In-Store TV Networks
Starbucks joins Wal-Mart, Target and Best Buy with their branded media platform and it's a natural extension of Starbucks music label. It increases each brand's co-marketing opportunities and gives customers a reason to linger in-store.
But Starbucks wifi delivery allows for more personalized and engaging experiences. It's one more way technology like smart phones are bridging the online and in-store experiences. Is it paid or owned media? It's a little of both and another example of how media is changing as brands becoming media platforms.
UPDATE: Here’s my take on the Starbucks Digital Network experiencebelow and by Flickr screen grabs. Attempts to do a video screen cast/walk through.using Screenr bombed after several attempts. :-(
Upon arrival, there is no trace of the network in-store. With thousands of stores it will probably take some time to ramp up this as an in-store promotion. The wifi page does not even tee up the network. This surprised me as most users click through here with a specific destination in mind.
It’s clearly designed to keep people in the store. Even the downloads take awhile due to the wifi. Commuters getting coffee en route to work won’t get as much from it. And most of the content that is featured features ways to purchase it via iTunes or other third party sites.
Brands can look at this for a host of ideas and there are a variety of advertising and content partnership opportunities that come to mind based on the six sections it has for content, including News, Entertainment, Wellness, Business and Career and My Neighborhood.
There are some improvements that should be made over time. But for the most part, it’s great. I give it an A-. In-store support will definitely help.
Related: Behind @Starbucks digital network with @stephengillett
Cross-posted to my work blog, Thought Leadership