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Like coffee with your comics? Marvel joins Starbucks Digital Network

Starbucks Digital Network

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.

ENTERTAINMENT CHANNEL

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.

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Comments

24 Comments

Good on Marvel, the more they do to reach out to the digital market the better.

Interesting. Not a huge fan of Starbucks coffee (I’m more a Coffee Bean man, myself) but hey, for free comics, I might be willing to pay a little in heartburn.

This is the best idea in comics I’ve heard all year, kudos to Marvel.

Very cool of Marvel to take this step. That digital library is expansive too. Hope they advertise it well in the stores to grab new readers.

This is cool. Hopefully someone outside of comics will notice and actually be willing to spend some time and read through some comics while they’re at Starbucks.

Groundbreaking. That’s 9,000+ comics right there. I subscribe and will say the service is AWESOME! I’m currently reading every issue of Thor by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby to prepare for the new movie and “Fear itself.”

Thanks for the great article. We are excited about Marvel and all of the existing and new content partners. Being an avid gamer, comic fan and card guy, glad to mix a little coffee, relaxation and Marvel! reach out any time. @stephengillett on Twitter or my blog http://www.theguildcio.com

This is a really cool. I’m also a subscriber and think the Marvel DCU service is great.

What I don’t understand is why we can now get DCU for free at Starbucks, but can’t pay to get it on an iPad.

This is a great idea, Marvel hopefully will bring some new audiences in for all comics with this.

Hrmmm, I wonder if Kieron Dwyer’s work for Marvel will be included in this mix. ;)

That’s a joke, people! A joke!

He Who Owns an iPad

March 23, 2011 at 4:16 pm

Will this work on the iPad? I’d rather read it on there than lug my laptop around. In other words, will it rely on Flash to display the comics? If so, then it won’t work for the iPad.

As a both an avid comic geek and a Starbucks store manager I have to say that this is a fantastic idea!

Now this is the kind of slightly-bonkers initiative I like! I might just have to visit a Starbucks and see how this works myself.

Excellent move on Marvel’s part.

Waiting for the day DC moves it’s massive Gold and Silver Age library to digital.

Wow. This is an actual brilliant idea. I’m shocked by how good this idea is. DC and other lesser known comics need to do this. I’ll be reading ultimate Spider-Man at the Starbucks from now on.

Hm, I wonder if content on the SDN can be accessed through 3rd party sites?

What ESPN Insider too! Double Win.

I always troll digital comic news posts to belittle marvel, so its only fair I give them credit when they make a partnership that will bring their comics to a potentially very new audience.

Hipsters like the starbucks…and like spending money on fads…maybe comics becomes the new hipster trend?

Still would like to see more from marvel in regards to comixology interface and the comixology retailer online progrma.

This is terrific, and I will definitely check it out. Good one, Marvel.

Ah, yes… “free” Wi-Fi — as long as you pay AT&T for it. Somebody needs to pass Starbucks a dictionary.

Hipsters already read comics. They just don’t read superheroes.

Fantagraphics should try to do this.

ykw, wi-fi has been free at Starbucks for a long while now. A year or more? You don’t have to pay AT&T for it at all. Just log in.

@Rich:

“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.”

Sure does sound like you need a device on the AT&T network when the release says you need a device on the AT&T network.

@ykw

I’m writing this comment from a Starbucks (7th & Peachtree, Atlanta, GA) using my laptop computer on their in-house network. Their in-house network is AT&T branded; you don’t need at AT&T device. That URL is what you type in while in the coffee shop if you want to use their “Starbucks Digital Network” offerings. There’s no additional cost.

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