As If Starbuck's Hadn't Already Made Ordering Coffee Complicated Enough
In the most ambitious media play ever for a non-tech, non-media company, Starbucks on Wednesday debuted its Digital Network -- an exclusive content network curated by the coffee seller and designed to enrich customers' in-store experiences.
"The vision is for Starbucks Digital Network to be a digital version of the community cork board that's in all of our stores," Starbucks's VP of Digital Ventures Adam Brotman tells Mashable.
Given Starbucks' massive national reach, the billion dollar question is what impact SDN, so-called, will have on the broader media landscape.
"The network will immediately become a major digital property, facing tens of millions of customers every month," writes The Seattle Times. "Last month Starbucks saw more than 30 million users logging into store networks, where WiFi has been free since last July and where the 'SDN' will be the initial landing page."
Oh, and as The Seattle Times notes, "The network is largely free of ads."
Mashable, which breaks down the ample offerings, says: "One thing that struck us about SDN is that there's almost too much content to go around ... In some aspects the experience seems saturated and overwhelming, so customers may not know where to start and partners providing premium content may find some of it gets overlooked."
So long as content -- from the likes of The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal -- isn't overlooked, it sounds like SDN could serve as a key promotional vehicle for various publishers.
As Brotman tells paidContent: "The business model is to basically act as an affiliate and to revenue share when there's an upsell on our network." As paidContent notes, therefore, "For the newspapers, that could mean selling subscriptions for access outside the store."
Meanwhile, as CNet comments, SDN has the potential to popularize a whole new world of "hyper-hyper-local" content. "Not only are you in a given neighborhood in a given city, but you're in a specific coffee shop ... It's a new, more malleable way to detect what kind of content consumers are more likely to want to pair with their coffee to go."