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Microsoft plans original TV programming in 2014

Microsoft continues to grab attention from Xbox 360 and Xbox One owners trying to watch custom content directly through the game console, as the living room continues to go digital.

Microsoft plans to launch its first round of original TV series for the Xbox starting in early 2014, in an effort to keep gamers using their consoles for activities beyond just video games.

Original content is expected to begin streaming via Xbox Live sometime before the end of Q1, according to Microsoft executives.  Besides the exclusive Halo series, it remains unclear what other types of programming Microsoft plans to bring to the table.

Here is what Nancy Tellem, Microsoft entertainment and digital media president, recently told reporters:

“I’m incredibly ambitious and impatient.  Because of that, the time it’s taken to develop the first slate of series, including a high-profile project based around ‘Halo,’ with Steven Spielberg producing, has been ‘slower,’ but reflecting on what we’ve done and what lies ahead, it’s been pretty good.”

Tellem and other Microsoft executives are continuing to meet with Hollywood producers and distribution partners, trying to determine how the Xbox Live platform can be used in the future.  The digital marketplace has caused a shift in home entertainment, with exclusive first release and exclusive second release windows, advertising rights, royalties, and other matters that must be agreed upon.

Expect some type of reality series to become popular goals by Microsoft executives, as the scripted shows require less behind-the-scenes efforts than live sporting events, concerns, and news broadcasts.  If Microsoft truly hopes to become a major player in the online streaming market, then an adjustment to current events and similar content must become available as well.

There is still significant confusion in the industry regarding how a game console fits into a digital living room that is evolving at a rapid pace.  Select HDTVs, game consoles, Blu-ray players, and set-top boxes all provide streaming content, but trying to determine which product choice is right has proven to be difficult for consumers.

Breaking further into the living room is important for Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo, as each company wants to keep gamers using their consoles.  As Netflix and Amazon currently dominate the TV and movie market in the living room, Microsoft must be careful to launch a service that provides great content in an easy-to-navigate manner – while ensuring it can stay out of the way of the industry leaders.

Expect further details of Microsoft’s continue campaign to take over the living room during the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2014, which takes place in Las Vegas in January.  The “TV everywhere” model is something Microsoft will continue to take seriously, especially as more people use their home consoles as entertainment hubs instead of just a game playing device.

Source: Variety

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