One of the things I miss most about living in the U.S. is a good Starbucks. I was mildly addicted to my skinny cinnamon dolce latte and on Saturday mornings I would also treat myself to a non-fat cinnamon coffeecake. Pure heaven! Sadly, no Starbucks in Doha have these delightful items, but I still remain a big fan. And now there is even more reason for me to love my favorite coffee chain – free Wi-Fi and free digital content!
Starbucks announced last week that it will be offering free and unrestricted internet at all its locations, which is a big improvement over their limited Wi-Fi offering that seemed to vary greatly by location. And while this is great, the really cool and creative part is that they also plan to offer access to premium paid sites, such as the Wall Street Journal and New York Times (their pay-wall is coming) free of charge while connected to their network. This “Starbucks Digital Network,” also has other partners in the venture, such as Apple’s iTunes.
Think about the potential for this. You come into Starbucks and order your amazing skinny cinnamon dolce latte (Doha Starbucks – learn how to make this please!), sit down with your iPad and have access to the Wall Street Journal for free. Then, you hear an awesome song being played. Well, clearly Starbucks will have a live feed of the music they are playing, so you can know the song and buy it right away through iTunes. Or better yet, you’ll get a free song or two. And this seems like just the start of what is possible.
I think it is really interesting how Starbucks is adding value to itself by partnering with digital content providers. It’s more than just the coffee now!