Steve Mays compares Starbucks to a radio station:
As I listened it occurred to me that Starbuck's was sort of like a radio station. A radio station that sells music. And coffee. And a nice place to enjoy both. All nicely wrapped in the Starbuck's brand.
I'd add that they're also a film company, as they have started financing movies and selling them the same way they sell cd's. "Ahleeyah and the Bee" is the first test run, and a very successful one. They're marketing the film in Starbucks, selling the soundtrack and will be soon selling the dvd.
Steve also points out that they have an xm satellite radio station.
Other than Oprah, Starbucks is the best example out there of extending a popular brand into an entertainment machine.
And it's a brick and mortar example of how I believe networks will emerge on the internet.
Just like Starbucks, highly trafficked, well branded websites, like Target.com, ESPN.com and Amazon.com for example, have a built in niche audience, built in distribution infrastructure, and built in cross marketing opportunities.
By contrast, sites like MSN.com and Yahoo! are so broadly diversified that they have to worry about narrowing their brand with programming.
Amazon's already trying this niche strategy with the Bill Mahr driven Fishbowl (which, by the way, will never be a success unless they start marketing it. It's practically buried!). It's shows like this, directed to a niche and placed where that niche is already spending time on the internet, that will be the first broadband programming to achieve success.