Entertainment & Digital Media president will oversee new production studio.
by Andrew Goldfarb
September 18, 2012
Microsoft has hired former CBS executive Nancy Tellem to oversee the creation of original entertainment content for Xbox Live. Tellem will serve as Entertainment & Digital Media president and will report to Microsoft Studios corporate vice president Phil Spencer.
According to Microsoft, Tellem will be in charge of a new production studio in Los Angeles that will “develop interactive and linear content for Xbox and other devices.” She’ll also “help spearhead the company’s efforts to turn Xbox into a destination where consumers can enjoy all their entertainment in one place.” Tellem’s goals for content include collaborating with the Xbox community “to develop unique, compelling storytelling experiences for the Xbox brand.”
“I am excited to be a part of the continued evolution of Xbox from a gaming console to the hub of every household’s entertainment experience,” Tellem said. “I look forward to building a studio team that embraces the challenges of creating true interactive content that the Xbox platform supports and to work with talent to create content that will change the way entertainment content is experienced and delivered.” “Whether you are voting for your favorite contestant on a TV show or playing a game, entertainment is becoming more personalized and social, driven by the Internet and new tools to interact with content,” Spencer added. “We are embarking on a new chapter with the creation of a studio dedicated to making original interactive and linear content, and I’m excited to have Nancy leading this effort.”
The idea of original content is nothing new for Microsoft, who previously announced Halo Chronicles, a "completely new and original chapter" in the Halo series from Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson. That project never came to fruition, nor did Microsoft’s long-rumored subscription TV service, though partnerships with ESPN, HBO and many more have emerged since.
More recently, Microsoft has been talking about interactive TV on Xbox since CES and just today released interactive Sesame Street and National Geographic TV experiences for Kinect.
Multiple patents have also suggested a further focus on entertainment for the next-generation Xbox, including a separate CPU that could have multiple TV streams running simultaneously. Microsoft also applied for a patent for an “immersive display experience” that would “intensify” entertainment and make games more realistic.
Tellem was previously at CBS since 1997, most recently serving as senior adviser to CEO Leslie Moonves, overseeing daytime, prime-time, late-night and Saturday Morning line-ups for the network. She ranked #32 in Forbes’ 2008 list of The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women.