After ceasing sales of print newspapers, Starbucks announced Tuesday that it will offer customers free digital access to several newspapers, including The Baltimore Sun, for a limited time.
Starbucks customers using the free in-store Wi-Fi at the coffee giant’s more-than 8,500 company-owned stores will have complimentary digital access to The Sun, as well as the Chicago Tribune, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The Seattle Times, Orlando Sentinel and New York Daily News. Those news sites typically have paywalls that require readers to buy a subscription after reading a certain number of articles.
The announcement comes after Starbucks last month removed physical newsstands from company-owned stores, along with other fixtures that held whole-bean coffee and snacks. It didn’t give a reason for that change, but print newspaper circulation nationally has been on a steady decline as consumers increasingly read news online.
Starbucks on Tuesday said it is “exploring new ways to bring news and content digitally to our stores” and the limited-time offer is “just the beginning.”
“It has been our vision that Starbucks remains a unique and sought out destination complemented by elevated digital relationships with our customers,” the Seattle-based company said in a statement.
Starbucks declined to disclose details of the financial arrangements with its newspaper partners, one of which is Tribune Publishing, which owns Baltimore Sun Media, the Chicago Tribune, Orlando Sentinel and New York Daily News.
“This test program enables Starbucks customers across the country to sample our award-winning journalism," said Mark Campbell, chief marketing officer at Tribune Publishing, in a statement. "We are implementing many initiatives to expand our digital readership and subscriptions, and are excited about this partnership.”