Microsoft has taken another step to expand the Xbox name by hiring Nancy Tellem as Entertainment and Digital Media President. Tellem will be heading a studio based in Los Angeles, focusing on original video content for the Xbox brand and will reporting directly to Microsoft Studios corporate Vice President Phil Spencer.
“What’s so exciting about this opportunity is we’re looking at the next iteration of television,” Tellem told the LA Times. “We’re starting from scratch and we’ll be looking at linear and interactive content, both longer-form, like television, and shorter form.”
Nancy Tellem was previously in charge of the entertainment division at CBS and in her time at the network, she was known for pushing digital media and also oversaw the CBS.com website. She stepped down from her position two years ago and has been a senior adviser to Chief Executive of CBS Leslie Moonves since.
She will now be focusing her efforts on exclusive television-style programming for the Xbox with a focus on more interactive content. Xbox programming will reach a very broad range of consumers, not just the typical video game player demographic. Since the Xbox name has grown and expanded beyond just a gaming console and into other devices like PCs, smartphones and tablets, there is hope for the brand to become a platform for all types of content including “premium content” that can compete with current shows that air on cable networks.
“We have large visions as to where this could all go,” Tellem said. “Building up a studio in Los Angeles with a significant financial commitment is very important.”
At the moment Tellem has yet to build the staff for the new studio and it is not known how quickly Xbox users will be able to view the new programming. However, it is safe to assume it will not debut until 2013. It is also currently unknown how the content will be supported. Programming could be provided through advertisements or a pay-per-view system or simply making it available only to those with an Xbox Live subscription.
Tellem has said that she will work with Hollywood studios and producers to create the exclusive programming for the Xbox. Phil Spencer noted that Microsoft still plans to encourage media partners such as HBO to continue distribution of their own product through the Xbox system even though this will bring Microsoft into the field of play as a competitor of current television networks.