Microsoft this week announced that it has hired Nancy Tellem, a former president of CBS Network Television Entertainment as their new Entertainment & Digital Media president. Tellem will oversee the launch of a production studio in Los Angeles that, according to Microsoft, will develop "interactive and linear content" for the Xbox and other devices. She will also be involved in Microsoft's efforts to turn the Xbox into "a destination where consumers can enjoy all their entertainment in one place.
“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,” said Tellem. “The Xbox is already a consumer favorite, and we now have a tremendous opportunity to transform it into the center of all things entertainment - from games, music and fitness to news, sports, live events, television series and movies - so consumers have one destination for all their entertainment needs. 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.”
Tellem served as president of CBS Entertainment for 12 years, from 1998 to 2010. During that time, she was responsible for choosing the TV lineup for CBS.
Microsoft has been transforming the Xbox into a home entertainment platform for years. At this year's E3, the company announced its SmartGlass technology, which will sync content over multiple devices, displaying extra content for a TV show on a tablet or smartphone, for instance. Even Nintendo's new console, the Wii U, will include software to facilitate the viewing of on-demand television programming.
It is also not surprising that Microsoft will begin to develop its own television content. Technology companies have begun to fill in the gap traditional television industry players are leaving when it comes to the web. Yahoo this year premiered a post-apocalyptic web series called Electric City. New episodes of a series Fox cancelled, Arrested Development, will debut exclusively on Netflix's streaming service next year. Independent production companies, such as Machinima and Geek & Sundry, are also beginning to provide regularly scheduled programming via YouTube.