Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

March 23, 2011

Marvel Comics Joining Starbucks’ Wi-Fi Network

imageStarbucks has added a bunch of premium American on-line consumption brand-bearing folks to its wi-fi network, according to an announcement hitting the wires today. Joining such luminaries as The Economist, and ESPN is The House That Jack Built: Marvel Comics. Those using the network while sipping on whatever it is people sip on at Starbucks will get access to those services at an upper "subscription" level, which in Marvel's case means they'll get to browse free comics.

I'm not sure this deal all by itself has a drastic impact, mostly because we're talking about subsets of subsets. As the articled linked-to above points out, the network offering is a value-added thing rather than the primary destination of that percentage of the coffee chain's customers that fire up a computer in the joint. It's further unclear how attractive the comics offerings will be in terms of the wide array of material offered. I love comics, I enjoy reading Marvel Comics, and I'd still probably go read ESPN's "Insider" stuff before downloading the latest Punisher or whatever.

On the other hand, I think it's good at this point for all of the companies to try all of the on-line strategies that are available to them. For some reason, reporting on digital comics strategies seem to depend largely on being able to predict the future. I'm sure I'm not alone in being mostly baffled by digital comics as it exists right this very moment, let alone being able to trumpet with great certainty what exactly is going catch on with people at some unnamed future date. Until they find the maximal outcome for on-line strategies, I suspect as many ways as these companies can try to see what works is going to benefit them. This sounds like a good one, with interesting aspects to it. I could also just be wrong about its direct impact.
posted 12:00 pm PST | Permalink

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