Microsoft Developing Original TV Programming for Xbox
Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) is joining other tech companies in the original television programming arena with a handful of new shows that it hopes will eventually evolve into a consumer home entertainment network centered on the company’s Xbox game console and related services, reports Bloomberg. The company already has six original television series lined up, as well as numerous projects in development. The new shows include a street soccer reality show called Every Street United, a sci-fi thriller about life-like robots called Humans, a stop-motion show from the creator of Robot Chicken, and a sketch show that will feature comedians such as Sarah Silverman and Michael Cera. According to Bloomberg, Microsoft will start introducing its television shows on the Xbox in June.
Microsoft will be looking to emulate the success of companies like Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) and Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) as it tries to secure its own piece of the increasingly crowded television market. The rapidly growing popularity of Internet-based video-streaming services over the past several years pushed Netflix and Amazon to develop their own original programming. In February, Netflix released the second season of its critically-acclaimed political thriller House of Cards, while Amazon recently expanded its original programming palette with six new series.
Microsoft’s entry into the television market will be overseen by former CBS (NYSE:CBS) executive Nancy Tellem, who was hired by the software giant to run its Xbox Entertainment Studios. While Tellem has some impressive shows on her resume — including hits such as Friends and ER — she noted that Microsoft will likely face big challenges as the new kid on the block in the television market. “This is not an easy business,” Tellem told Bloomberg. “There’s a huge failure rate. You have to get up to the plate a lot. Hopefully we can have a higher batting average than most, but it’s a long process.”