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Starbucks joins The Cable Game in a big way. This is good for content providers. but what about carriers?
Written By mista sense on Wednesday, October 20, 2010 | 6:58 AM
As noted here in the past, Starbucks is joining The Cable Game in a big way.
Indeed, Starbucks is not only offering itself as a "third place," in between work and the office--and making that third place ever more inviting--but it is setting itself up, perhaps, as a rival to the cable carriers.
(And who knows, in areas where cable carriers and content providers are at war, see News Corp. vs. Cablevision perhaps folks could go to Starbucks and see what might be blacked out at home.)
Here's a report from Wilson Rothman, writing for MSNBC's Technolog; as we can see, Starbucks is creating alliances with companies across the spectrum, bringing such rivals as the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal under the same Starbucks tent. As Rothman puts it:
Four months after making its in-store Wi-Fi free, Starbucks is now using that connection to give away premium content from the Wall Street Journal, Nickelodeon, Apple's iTunes and others. If you are connected to the in-store Wi-Fi, you're on the Starbucks Digital Network and can get this stuff for free.
The network was built in partnership with Yahoo. At launch, here are some of the key "premium" content providers:
WSJ.com - In the store, it's as if you're logged in as a subscriber; subscriptions cost over $100 a year.
New York Times Reader 2.0 - A Web app that reads like a newspaper, and normally requires a subscription.
iTunes - In addition to "Pick of the Week" downloads, there will be featured music and videos available (to keep) for free. (iTunes is also the "click to buy" content provider for books and other stuff available on the Starbucks network.)
The Cable Gamer doesn't know exactly how all this will happen, but TCG knows not to bet against Starbucks. Indeed, 'Bucks has plans to expand into wine and beer, so that would make the thousands of outlets not only a coffee house, but also, potentially, a tavern. And all the while, they could be watching shows on their computers--or, more likely, their iPads or iPad equivalent.
Starbucks' move is surely good for content providers--more places to show their stuff!--but it is perhaps a little ominous for cable carriers. But most of all, it is good for Starbucks.
And if Starbucks can make itself into a player in the world of content and carriage, then who knows what will happen next.