Microsoft to produce original TV content for Xbox

Microsoft has appointed former CBS television executive Nancy Tellem to spearhead the company’s creation of original branded TV content to boost the company’s efforts to transform Xbox into an entertainment platform, not just a video games console.

Microsoft has appointed former CBS executive Nancy Tellem to accelerate its bid to position its Xbox platform as entertainment hub for original TV content.

Tellem will launch Microsoft’s new production studio in Los Angeles as the company’s entertainment and digital media president. She will report to Phil Spencer, corporate vice president for Microsoft Studio and will be tasked with building a team that develops both interactive and linear content for the Xbox games console as well as other devices.

Tellem was previously at CBS where she was senior adviser to CEO Leslie Moonves and was part of the team that launched TV shows Friends and ER.

The production studio will also collaborate with the creative community to source “unique, compelling storytelling experiences for the Xbox brand”.

Spencer says: “We are embarking on a new chapter with the creation of a studio dedicated to making original interactive and linear content. Whether you are voting for your favourite contestant on a TV show or playing a game, entertainment is becoming more personalised and social, driven by the Internet and new tools to interact with content.”

This is Microsoft’s latest move towards producing original TV content. In July, the company launched Sesame Street TV and National Geographic TV on its Kinect service.

While Xbox Live has 40 million members, the service is still not top of mind among many users looking for on-demand TV movies and TV shows.

Earlier this year Google invested in independent producers to produce content for its YouTube service, while Amazon has launched an initiative to fund original programming through its Prime service.

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