Xbox original TV content to start by Q2 2014

"Everyone recognizes how important content is in device adoption. It can be an incentive to buy something or not to buy something"

Microsoft's plan to bring original TV programming to Xbox Live will start in the first half of 2014.

According to a report in Variety, Nancy Tellem, Microsoft's president of digital entertainment, pledged the launch of the new initiative by the end of the first quarter, "at minimum second quarter."

Tellem joined Microsoft to spearhead the TV strategy for Xbox in 2012. The first run of programming will feature an original series based on the Halo IP, with Steven Spielberg attached as a producer.

"I was always looking for the next thing," Tellem said of her time at the U.S. network CBS. "Technology and the transition that was taking place was incredibly interesting to me. It's very exciting for me to be in this position right now and see how the business model evolves and how content evolves."

"We aren't Netflix, we aren't Amazon, we're a different animal"

However, Tellem admitted that there is still a great deal to be worked out in terms of making television fit into the context of a console online service - which formats and business models will appeal to the audience, for example, and how much interactivity will be expected and tolerated.

The decision to move towards television was prompted by the way Xbox owners were spending more and more time consuming video content, but Tellem believes that there is no precedent for what Microsoft is attempting.

"We aren't Netflix, we aren't Amazon, we're a different animal," she continued. "We're neither or we're a little like them. It all depends. The lack of black and white and this is the template and this is what we're following is very difficult. As we continue to do deals everyone's going to get more comfortable.

"We're in this amazing time where these two worlds are coming together. It's only now that we're getting comfortable with each other. Everyone recognizes how important content is in device adoption. There's always talk about what apps are available on your phone or what apps you can get. It can be an incentive to buy something or not to buy something."

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Latest comments (10)

Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant 4 years ago
At management school they call it Strategic Advantage.
We see here that Xbone is not a games console. It is a home media box.
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Tom Keresztes Programmer 4 years ago
We see here that Xbone is not a games console. It is a home media box.
We'll see if they can use their dominance in the console sector to gain foothold in the living room.
The lack of black and white and this is the template and this is what we're following is very difficult.
In other words, you don't have a clear message of what are you trying to do ? Thats not the best marketing strategy, but i am no expert.
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Ridwan Aksad Sales & Marketing, BDSmktg4 years ago
Definitely strategic advantage.
I'm curious to see if there will be anything that isn't just first party content (Like Mass Effect or Bioshock) ask for TV content. Obviously it's up to Microsoft to decide that but if they want their console to sell it makes sense for first party content only. But over the years it'll be interesting to see how else they'll place exclusivity in the Xbone.
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Show all comments (10)
Sony owns heaps of TV and movie content. Even Nintendo has a significant amount. Strangely enough, neither restrict that content to channels they control ... because it doesn't make sense. They make a lot more money spreading that content to as many channels and viewers as possible.

Truthfully MS has very deep pockets ... but are they using the XBone to sell their content, or their content to sell the XBone? Need to work this out, or they will end up selling neither.

This is just another step towards the "movie-isation" of video games, that Microsoft (and Sony) seem determined to do. Run out of "game-play" ideas, or just unwilling to innovate - rather they take simple/established mechanics, and put a new story/paint coat on it. On in this case ... no gameplay at all.
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Alfonso Sexto Lead Tester, Ubisoft Germany4 years ago
Thanks MS, but I buy consoles to play games, not watch TV.
I still don't get the intention of this. People who wants TV already have SKY, cable TV or satellite. Who is going to burn 500 to have the same again?
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Not to mention, why the heck do i want to swap out of my game into some cable TV.
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Nick Parker Consultant 4 years ago
MS just executing original premise of Xbox One; the One box to own for everything so this TV strategy intends to drive new consumers to the Xbox, not necessarily gamers. Instead of "it plays games, oh and movies too","you can watch movies, oh and you can play games too".
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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 4 years ago
@Aaron: I've been playing games since 1972 to escape from reality. Having it intrude into the experience in that way, no matter how cool the tech ends up, will just make me less likely to invest in any game system where my primary choice of entertainment is invaded by another I choose to not partake in because I want to get away from the outside world for a stretch.
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Jeff Kleist Writer, Marketing, Licensing 4 years ago

Nintendo doesn't own their cartoons or movies. DIC Universal, and a variety of other studios own their film and TV shows

Sony Pictures Entertainment is a seperate company from son computer entertainment, and Sony pictures television is yet another kettle of fish. . Sony actually has a very small modern TV catalog, and the movies are FAR too expensive to lock down for more than a few weeks at best. More importantly they have gigantic numbers of international distribution partnerships. For example, Sony owns Starship Troopers in the US, Buena Vista in Japan and Europe. lord of the Rings is owned by New Line in the US, Alliance in Canada, entertainment in Film in the UK, and about half a dozen other companies covering Europe alone.

If you think this content will remain exclusive to Xbox, that's simply not the case. House of Cards for example, Netflix only owns the TV/cable streaming rights, and they have tried several times to acquire Starz for a linear TV channel. You can bet these shows will be first on Xbox, and free on Xbox with Gold. You'll be able to rent or buy them on disc, and later probably even stream them. They'll also likely be sold to standard TV In less Xbox friendly environments. If Ms makes new episodes of Heroes and Prison Break, both of which were huge in foreign markets, yiu can be they're not staying put everywhere

Microsoft is creating assets that will get people to notice them, and further cement their ties with cable and streaming companies by giving them some valuable carrots to dangle. Does Sony have the ability to commission the same? Yup, but they didn't hire a CBS exec at MS for nothing. She has extensive ties to the entire content distribution network, which will make sure that after it's click sit for gamers, these assets will generate revenue in the aftermarket
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Rafa Ferrer Localisation Manager, Red Comet Media4 years ago
@Alfonso - I hear that a lot, but I don't quite get it. Sure, I buy consoles to play games too, but how does this prevent you from playing games? It's not like they are switching from gaming to TV, they're just adding features.
I think my lifestyle is quite the average for a guy in his thirties: I don't have a lot of time for home entertainment, which I split between games and fiction, and I don't mind at all to pay a little extra for quality content and quicker access, so that makes me a sucker for the XB1 approach. If it delivers (AKA gets nice deals with good content distributors in my region), I'll be happy to use it for all my entertainment needs instead of having n providers and boxes and remotes (and bills). I like things made easy just like everyone else. So the main reason I've chosen XB1 over PS4 as my primary console is that it offers more entertainment options. But I still don't see where people get the idea that gaming has been given a secondary role at all. Its hardware (and the investment in it) says otherwise.
Maybe they'll flop, time will tell, but although I'm no Bruce, I do believe consoles need to offer more than they did until now in order to reach past the niche it's slowly getting cornered into. Of course it's the developers that will ultimately save console gaming and not some TV service, but I don't think this hurts at all. Besides, when these services take shape, they may get some more systems in living rooms, which is always a good thing. I really don't see the downside.

(edit) I should point that I live in Spain, a country Netflix has stated they won't touch with a 10-foot pole because of rampant piracy. Hope it explains why I hope for and welcome decent media content services.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Rafa Ferrer on 18th December 2013 11:49am

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