How Starbucks Is About to Become More Important to Hollywood

How Starbucks Is About to Become

Decision to speed up in-store Wi-Fi will make Starbucks stores a key distribution platform for entertainment

As Hollywood takes advantage of new digital platforms to distribute — and monetize — its content, Starbucks is about to play a more important role for studios as a revenue source.

The coffee chain said Wednesday it has brewed up a new deal with Google to provide free in-store Wi-Fi to customers using laptops, tablets and smartphones in its stores that will be ten times faster than the current wireless service it offers through AT&T.

Starbucks plans to convert more than 7,000 stores in the U.S. to the faster network. AT&T will continue to provide Internet access during the transition.

Starbucks and Google will also co-develop a new Starbucks Digital Network, which currently provides access to news and entertainment from sources like the Wall Street Journal, Apple’s iTunes, USA Today, ESPN, Yahoo! Finance, Zagat, Marvel Digital Comics, Nick Jr. Boost, SnagFilms, Yahoo! entertainment and Starbucks’ own entertainment arm.

Expect Google-owned ventures like YouTube to play a key role in the next iteration of the network — especially as Google looks to put its services in front of more users and grow its Google Play media and app store, as well as YouTube networks and online advertising business.

Starbucks launched its Digital Network in 2010, the same year it began providing free Wi-Fi services at its stores through AT&T.

Starbucks believes faster Internet will attract more consumers to spend more time inside its stores. That will hopefully translate into increased of beverages and food. But for Hollywood, that will also boost the number of people looking at online content, a win for the entertainment industry.

For Hollywood, Google’s partnership with Starbucks will clearly mean more eyeballs for its content and advertising, not only for entertainment offered up through Google’s various business but also through other platforms like Netflix, Hulu and iTunes given the faster Wi-Fi speeds to come.

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  1. Freddie Fillers says:

    How will Starbucks ensure that “customers” utilizing this “free” service have actually bought something or will buy anything while on-site? This is a terrible strategy unless Starbucks is planning on building movie theater size stores where patrons sit and order from their seats where Starbucks staff deliver the order to their seat/table. But a new business model like that would require a huge operational expenditure to build-out current locations or simply build new locations of that size. The only way to offset those kinds of expenses would be to offer Starbucks as franchises so some other suckers willing to foot the bill.

  2. How does Google do it, my god, 10 times faster than AT&T or the cables? I know they have the cash to run the Fiber into Starbucks but, what about the caffeine free zone. Aren’t they entitled to a faster download?

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