Yesterday, the New York Times and Starbucks announced a partnership that would grant 15 free articles to digital users on the Starbucks Wi-Fi. This isn’t the first time the companies have forged a media partnership — Starbucks outlets across the country have carried a newsstand of the paper, and this loophole maneuver might draw more readers to the coffee shop (and pick up a digital subscription over time).
But is it just another paywall, buried in our real world instead of on our computers?
The Times has already clarified that the system will not allow readers to choose their articles at whim — rather, there will be an available landing page that features a mix of articles from various Times sections as well as breaking news and most-emailed and a rotating “special” section that rotates daily. All of these articles can be accessed daily, through the Starbucks Digital Network or SDN, a fancy way of referring to every store’s free Wi-Fi offerings. Read more