Starbucks loyalty program members will be able to read some stories for free, and get Starbucks “stars” for New York Times print and digital subscriptions. The deal follows a similar agreement with music streaming service Spotify.
Starbucks struck a deal with The New York Times to allow members of the coffee giant’s rewards program to see stories for free on its mobile app and earn Starbucks loyalty points through paid subscriptions with the newspaper.
The deal is the second in which Starbucks allows its fans to earn so-called “stars” with purchases made with other retailers. It’s a step in a path that could lead to sharing customers with a vast network of companies — and open a new source of revenue for the Seattle coffee purveyor.
Last May Starbucks struck a similar deal with Spotify, in which the music streaming service’s subscribers could also earn points to be used within Starbucks’ rewards program.
Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz said at an investor presentation shortly after the Spotify deal that company executives call this strategy “Stars as Currency.”
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The gist, Schultz said, is that another company’s business get a boost by rewarding its customers with Starbucks stars — and Starbucks gets extra revenue from selling those stars to outside companies. A Starbucks spokeswoman confirmed that The New York Times would also be paying Starbucks for stars.
Schultz said he expects there will be many partnerships within that ecosystem.
The agreement with The New York Times means that the 10 million Starbucks reward members that use the company’s mobile app will be able to see top news and a sampling of other stories for free, beginning in the first half of 2016.
Starbucks said it will also add stories from other media over time.