Microsoft Bets on Original Content
Microsoft is going Hollywood. On Tuesday, the software giant named former CBS chief Nancy Tellem to oversee creation of a new in-house studio that will create original content for the Xbox Live platform and Microsoft’s growing suite of devices.
The move is not Microsoft’s first foray into content creation; the company has been creating original games for the Xbox for years. But the hire of Tellem underscores Microsoft’s growing ambitions in the living room, and marks a significant milestone in the transformation of the Xbox from a video game console to a multimedia entertainment hub that doubles as both a content delivery platform and a device for controlling and interacting with the television set.
Earlier this year Microsoft unveiled its SmartGlass platform (demoed at the Second Screen Summit in July) that allows any mobile device to sync with and control the Xbox 360. Microsoft’s goal is to leverage the installed base of 35 million Xbox 360 consoles in the U.S. to turn SmartGlass into the dominant platform for second-screen and multi-screen experiences around both TV and game content. This fall, Microsoft will roll out its own, Surface, tablet, which is expected to play a key role in its evolving content strategy.
According to the New York Times, Tellem’s unit will be charged with creating both traditional linear content as well as interactive programming “that fuses video and gamelike content.”
Prior to joining Microsoft, Tellem worked at Warner Bros., in addition to CBS, and brings a wealth of experience both on the backlot and in the executive suite.