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Starbucks pulls in brand recognition to build New York Times subscriptions

Starbucks is teaming up with the New York Times on a promotion that doles out free access to the publisher?s newly launched mobile news product.

Starbucks? My Starbucks Reward members can receive 12 weeks of access to the New York Times? new NYT Now mobile application. What is interesting about this initiative is the fact that Starbucks is essentially leveraging its brand reputation to drive mobile app downloads and adoption for the New York Times? initiatives. 

?The New York Times has a longstanding relationship with Starbucks, both in print and digital,? said Linda Zebian, spokeswoman for the New York Times, New York.

?We have been distributing The New York Times newspapers in many Starbucks locations throughout the country for years and also offer digital access to through the Starbucks Digital Network,? she said.

Doling out free content
The promotion fits into a much bigger push from the New York Times that launched last month. NYT Now is a subscription news product that includes a stand-alone mobile app and Web site that serves up a curated amount of news items for $8 every four weeks.

NYT Now also includes its own editorial staff responsible for curating news for smartphones and tablets (see story). 

Starbucks is promoting the partnership through an email blast that was sent to all My Starbucks Rewards members. 

When consumers click through on the email, they are prompted to either sign-in to their New York Times account or create an account. After logging in, consumers type in a 20-digit unique code that is in the email to begin their free trial of NYT Now. 

This is not the first time that Starbucks and the New York Times have teamed up on mobile promotions. Last year, the newspaper company offered consumers connected to Starbucks? Wi-Fi access to 15 free daily news stories.

The promotion runs through April 21.

Mobile jolt
Starbucks has reigned the mobile space for a number of years with a strategy that heavily plays up loyalty and rewards.

Mobile now makes up about 14 percent of Starbucks? revenue within the United States, and the brand has also taken a number of recent steps to improve its app?s payment features (see story). 

Payments are only part of the secret to Starbucks? mobile success though.

The brand is also heavily invested in mobile-specific content such as rewards and in-app offers that get pushed out routinely in Starbucks? app through a newsfeed. 

Starbucks has also tested different advertising campaigns that revolve around content, including one with Flipboard late last year (see story). 

?This special offer is an extension of our relationship with Starbucks and another way for The Times to reach new digital customers," Ms. Zebian said.

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Marketer, New York