Ina Fried

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Microsoft Fancies Itself a Content Producer Again

Microsoft is once again looking at being a content creator.

It’s a path the company has trotted down several times in the past — in its MSN business, for instance — usually to eventually retreat.

Microsoft now has a 125-person studio in Santa Monica devoted to making content for the Xbox.

“We’re certainly looking at a very robust production schedule,” Microsoft entertainment and digital media president Nancy Tellem said in an interview at D: Dive Into Media. Tellem declined to outline a budget for the effort she is overseeing at Microsoft, but said the company is looking at a range of scripted interactive content.

Pressed by interviewer Peter Kafka on why Microsoft needs to make content versus just partnering with studios, Tellem — formerly president of the CBS Network Television Entertainment Group — said that Microsoft has a unique opportunity to make content that is interactive rather than linear.

“Particularly when you are looking at the younger demographic,” Tellem said, “interactivity is a natural extension of what they do.”

The content could be 10 minutes or an hour and a half, Tellem said.

Microsoft-created content is likely to be part of the company’s existing paid Xbox Live subscription service.

So, when are we going to see this content?, Kafka asked.

“It’s a good question,” Tellem said.

This year?

“I’m hoping,” she said.

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