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April 21, 2014

Xbox Expanding Its Hold on Entertainment

Original Programming, Including Spielberg-Produced Series, Coming

Microsoft image — The Xbox One.

X marks the spot.

In this case, the X is Xbox and the spot is entertainment.

A recognizable name in gaming consoles, Xbox — more specifically, its parent company, Microsoft — is finally seeing and seizing its opportunity to expand well beyond the gaming aspect so readily associated with the box that is already in millions of homes across the globe. While The Xbox Live network is well-rooted in gaming to those who know about it, it is also a great conduit to films, television and music.

Basically, Xbox is everything that Netflix and even newer components such as Amazon’s Fire TV are, but under the guidance of entertainment and digital media president Nancy Tellem we should expect even more, including original content.


Nancy Tellem

“We want to be the all-in-one entertainment experience, so going into original programming was a natural step for us,” Tellem recently told The Guardian. “The thing a lot of people don’t know is we have an amazingly rich platform of content. Look at games, Halo is a fantastic starting point. MSN reaches 450 million users a day, amazing global reach. Our video and music rivals (U.S. streaming service) Pandora, and on the TV and film side, buying or renting, the number of titles we have rivals Netflix. It is an amazing, important starting point in terms of assets.”

Tellem knows her stuff. She’s a former top executive at CBS and has been with Microsoft since 2012.

She intends to take that knowledge and apply it to Xbox. It looks like she’s taking the gloves off, too — the console will be going head-to-head with already established content providers.

“What is exciting about this opportunity is bringing together the two cultures of media and technology and offering the audience a new iteration. Look at Game of Thrones and the number watching on tablets, we are at a really interesting inflection point in media,” she said.

Xbox linked in to the hugely popular series Game of Thrones when, for one week, it streamed the season four premiere at no charge.

“We are very ambitious and will grow at a pace that is right for the business and we have the financial support to do it,” she said. “It is a space we are definitely in and will continue to be in. I not only believe in the Xbox service but (if the aim is) keeping the audience and expanding that reach, what better way [is there] than with an original show?”

And that has begun, Microsoft has already announced six shows for Xbox including a Halo-based series produced by Hollywood heavyweight Steven Spielberg.


W. Brice McVicar is a staff writer for SiteProNews.