Starbucks announced today that, in partnership, with Yahoo! it's expanding its Starbucks Digital Network, which offers customers access to free online content its nearly 6,800 locations in the United States. Soon you'll be able sip a mochachino while browsing material from the likes of The Economist, Mediabistro and ... Marvel Digital Comics.
Yes, as of April 23, the Starbucks faithful will have "unlimited, free access" to the full library of Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited via the Starbucks Digital Network's entertainment channel. That's, presumably, for browsing and not downloading.
Tom Spurgeon has some commentary on the announcement, noting that he's "not sure this deal all by itself has a drastic impact, mostly because we're talking about subsets of subsets." Still, it's an interesting strategy on Marvel's part for trying to expand its audience.
You can read the press release after the break.
Starbucks Digital Network, in partnership with Yahoo!, Debuts New Content Providers: The Economist, ESPN Insider and Mediabistro with Marvel Digital Comics Coming Soon
Starbucks Annual Meeting of Shareholders Serves as Stage to Introduce Four New Content Providers Bringing Global News, Sports, Comics and Job Tools to the Network
SEATTLE--Starbucks (NASDAQ: SBUX) introduced the newest additions to the Starbucks Digital Network, in partnership with Yahoo! (NASDAQ: YHOO), as The Economist, ESPN Insider Rumor Central, Marvel Digital Comics and Mediabistro were revealed on stage at the company’s Annual Meeting of Shareholders. Building on the Oct. 2010 launch, the network continues to serve up a collection of hand-picked premium news, entertainment and lifestyle content along with local insights and events. Powered by free Wi-Fi, it’s accessible via laptops, tablets and smartphones in nearly 6800 U.S. company-operated Starbucks stores. Today’s line-up gives free access to premium content covering global news, sports, comics and careers.
“Following the fall launch, we’ve continued to seek feedback from our customers so we can continue to shape and grow the Starbucks Digital Network in a way that is authentic to the Starbucks Experience, inspires conversation and invites new customers to experience our content offering when they visit their neighborhood Starbucks,” said Stephen Gillett, Starbucks chief information officer, executive vice president Digital Ventures. “Today we’re broadening the offering and will continue to develop the network’s channels with a spectrum of new content.”
NEWS & SPORTS CHANNEL
As the new content providers join the network, the News Channel broadens to become the News & Sports Channel, offering the latest breaking developments from around the world, nation or locker room. The Economist online and ESPN Insider Rumor Central are opening up their premium online content to the Starbucks Digital Network, so customers have free access while in their local Starbucks store.
Known for its in-depth coverage of world politics, business and finance, science and technology and culture, The Economist which provides its readers with global perspective and insight each week, is sharing the online version of its weekly print edition and a weekly digital-only feature with Starbucks customers.
For sport fans looking for the news and rumors from across the sporting world, ESPN Insider content portal joins the line-up on the Starbucks Digital Network and offers access to Rumor Central, a behind-the-scenes sports source sharing insider tips, speculation and analysis on sports teams and athletes before it’s news. The ESPN Insider covers a roster of 28 sports and leagues including college and professional sports in the US and abroad.
On the Entertainment Channel, watch for the upcoming arrival of the Marvel Universe as Super Heroes, mutants, aliens, armor-clad super-geniuses and thunder gods join forces with the Starbucks Digital Network on Apr. 23, 2011. Known for engrossing stories and a library of more than 8,000 characters, Marvel Comics gives Starbucks customers unlimited, free access to its full library of Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited. Spider-Man, Iron Man, Thor, Wolverine and others await to captivate as customers explore the comic realm and imagine fighting villains with a cup of coffee in hand.
BUSINESS & CAREERS CHANNEL
For customers looking to conduct a job search in the media field or plot a career move, Mediabistro brings new resources to the network. It joins the Business & Careers channel to provide complimentary access to its library of how-to career training videos. With topics ranging from how to “Create a Job Search Strategy” to “How to Make Your Resume Work Harder for You,” the instructional videos offer relevance for job seekers and entrepreneurs in all fields.
THE CHANNELS & CONTENT PROVIDERS
The six channels on the Starbucks Digital Network are created to inform, entertain and connect customers with what is most important to them. Content continues to be offered in a snackable format so the network is easy to explore whether customer have a few minutes or an hour. Since launch, most customer log-ins to the network are for a few minutes. Following is a rundown of all network content providers.
* News & Sports: Digits (WSJ technology blog), WSJ.com, The Economist, GOOD, New York Times Reader 2.0, USA TODAY eEdition, ESPN Insider Rumor Central and Yahoo! News.* Entertainment: iTunes, Bookish Reading Club, Marvel Comics, New Word City, Nick Jr. Boost, SnagFilms, Starbucks Entertainment and Yahoo! entertainment offerings.* Wellness: Rodale with Men’s Health, Women’s Health, Runner’s World, Bicycling, Prevention, Organic Gardening, TrainingPeaks, Eat This, Not That! and Rodale Books.* Business & Careers: LinkedIn, Mediabistro, Starbucks Careers and Yahoo! Finance.* My Neighborhood: DonorsChoose.org, Flickr, Foursquare, Patch, and Zagat.* Starbucks: MyStarbucksIdea, Starbucks Coffee Blog, Starbucks Nutrition, Starbucks™ Shared Planet™, Starbucks Card and My Starbucks Rewards.* Landing page and other featured content: The Weather Channel, Foursquare check-in, Starbucks Card log-in, a social media dashboard highlighting Facebook, Twitter, My Starbucks Idea and YouTube, and the Yahoo! search bar.
Customers gain access to the Starbucks Digital Network when they connect to free Wi-Fi at company-operated Starbucks in the U.S. The Starbucks Digital Network content can be accessed with devices on the AT&T network in store by typing the URL starbucks.yahoo.com in browser.