Microsoft hires entertainment exec to develop Xbox video content

Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) has made a move to make online video--and particularly its own exclusive online video--a major piece of its Xbox gaming platform. Until now, Microsoft has depended on cutting deals with outsiders to get video content to run on the gaming platform. That should change now that the software giant has hired  former CBS Network entertainment president Nancy Tellem and charged her with starting and running a Los Angeles-based production studio.

Tellem's task is to use the studio as a base to develop video series that will be available "exclusively" on the Xbox platform, a Los Angeles Times story said.

"What's so exciting about this opportunity is we're looking at the next iteration of television," Tellem told the newspaper. "We're starting from scratch and we'll be looking at linear and interactive content, both longer-form, like television, and shorter form."

Tellem worked at CBS since 1997 and ran the entertainment division from 1998 to 2009. She joins former Warner Bros. chairman Terry Semel, who became chief executive of Yahoo in 2001, and Lloyd Braun, who headed to Yahoo in 2001 as a high profile entertainment executive who made the jump to a tech company.

Most recently, Tellem served as an advisor to CBS boss Leslie Moonves where she was "known for pushing into digital media and oversaw the website," the story noted. That's where she appeared on Microsoft's radar, and that's where her talks with the tech firm started.

"Our early discussions with Nancy around what television could mean on the Xbox platform went well and it became clear her expertise from the television industry could accelerate the strategy we were pursuing," Phil Spencer, vice president of Microsoft Studios, told the newspaper. "We have always known the goal for Xbox is to be a platform for all forms of content."

Apparently the deal gives Tellem a long leash to make Xbox a lot more than a gaming platform.

"We're going to reach out to a very broad range of consumers. When I first got to CBS we looked at what the core audience was and built from there, and that's just what I'm going to do again," she said. "We have large visions as to where this could all go. Building up a studio in Los Angeles with a significant financial commitment is very important."

For more:
- this story appeared in the Los Angeles Times

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