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Starbucks launches digital network for customers

Starbucks launches digital network for customers

Content-based network offers books, movies, news and more

A new exclusive digital network offering books, movies, news and more launched Wednesday at Starbucks’ more than 6,800 corporate locations across the country.

The goal, company officials said, is to enhance the in-store experience, and perhaps to encourage guests to linger and order more coffee. When announcing the network plan earlier this year, Starbucks chairman and chief executive Howard Schultz said the move would further differentiate the brand from competitors that offer “commodity Wi-Fi access.”

Powered by free Wi-Fi in partnership with Yahoo!, the Starbucks Digital Network was developed for use on laptops, tablets or smart phones.

“Our customers are the inspiration for the Starbucks Digital Network,” said Stephen Gillett, the Seattle-based coffeehouse giant’s executive vice president, chief information officer and Digital Ventures general manager, in a statement. “They’ve told us they want to be the first to know what’s happening in their neighborhoods and around the globe, to have an easy way to discover new music, great books and important films and find ways to be more involved in their communities. And they’re connecting with the brand digitally in numerous ways.”

The network includes content that spans six channels: news, entertainment, wellness, business and careers, localized information about the neighborhood and Starbucks promotions or products.

For example, content includes iTunes music, downloadable books and movies, access to social media sites Foursquare and LinkedIn as well as The Weather Channel, and educational programs for children.

During the launch this week, customers will have free exclusive access to two songs and a video from the band Fistful of Mercy, as well as a clip from the movie “Waiting for Superman,” which includes an opportunity to donate $15 through to support a school. In addition, customers will be able to download an excerpt from the novel “Rescue,” by Anita Shreve, which is scheduled for release in November.

Contact Lisa Jennings at [email protected].

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