July 28, 2008

Msnbc.com, the leader in online news,* officially opened its interactive digital café today at the NBC Experience Store in New York’s Rockefeller Center. The msnbc.com digital café is a sleek new space that brings to life the site’s innovative nature and immerses consumers in msnbc.com's trademark "fuller spectrum of news" in a casual café setting. 

The digital café is like no other, with one-of-a-kind interactive activities that showcase msnbc.com’s rich content in compelling and unexpected ways.  Spectra, msnbc.com’s latest news-infused innovation, allows visitors to truly interact with the day’s headlines.  This visually stunning news reader is showcased on five touchscreens for individual play and on a large Sharp TV screen filled with whirling color and up-to-the-minute headlines.  Coming in Fall 2008, Spectra will be featured on the 108-inch Sharp TV, one of the largest TVs in the world.  Spectra on the large screen also uses motion-sensing technology to detect cafe guests' color of clothing.  It then reveals a stream of the latest content channels that match that hue.  For instance, if a visitor is wearing blue, Spectra will activate and display content in “Entertainment” in varying shades of blue.

“We’ve tapped into what excites our ‘news explorers’ and created a digital playground where consumers can engage and experiment with news in unconventional ways,” said Catherine Captain, vice president of marketing, msnbc.com.  “Bringing the msnbc.com experience offline to create a news-infused café is something we are uniquely positioned to do because our audience enjoys discovering news in unique formats.  Consumers tell us that the msnbc.com brand is more innovative and cutting-edge than its peers.  We coined the term and created NewsWare (www.newsware.msnbc.com) online that taps into that understanding and now we've created a physical space with the msnbc.com digital cafe.”

The digital café also features free msnbc.com NewsArcades, which house the site’s addictive NewsBreaker and NewsBlaster games first introduced online. Consumers have access to free WiFi.  While visitors immerse themselves in the latest headlines, they can snack on Garrett Popcorn, sip Chock full o’ Nuts coffee, and enjoy the spectacular views of Rockefeller Plaza and the Today Show studio.  

"We worked closely with the NBC Experience Store to select premiere partners to enhance our cafe experience," said Captain. "We're thrilled to have Garrett and Chock full o' Nuts on board."

“The msnbc.com digital café is a fantastic addition to our NBC Experience Store,” added Judith Dutch, vice president of Retail Operations and Consumer Marketing, NBC Universal. “The café brings a new interactive dimension to our customers, who can now enjoy msnbc.com content in a truly unique and entertaining way.”

“Garrett Popcorn Shops is an iconic brand, and as we continue our expansion out of Chicago and into New York City, it’s fantastic to now have a presence in such an iconic building and with such a powerful brand like msnbc.com,” said Scott Schroeder, executive vice president and CFO of Garrett Popcorn Shops.

Jim LaGanke, senior vice president for Chock full o’ Nuts Café division added, “ We are proud to be associated with such a great brand as msnbc.com and look forward to exciting customers with our café menu reminiscent of yester year, including our legendary coffee and Datenut Bread with Cream Cheese Sandwich.” 

According to Captain, "The msnbc.com digital cafe is the latest in a series of exciting extensions of the msnbc.com brand.  This has been more than a year in the making and we're happy to throw our doors open to the thousands of daily visitors to the NBC Experience Store.  From here, we will continue to brainstorm new ways to delight our consumers.  This is just the beginning."

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