Former CBS head Nancy Tellem, who now oversees the Entertainment and Digital Media division at Microsoft, feels Hollywood can’t seem to grasp just how large the gaming industry nor the richness of its storytelling elements.
Speaking with [a]list Daily, Tellem discussed how Xbox Entertainment Studios’ original programming will focus on Xbox Live subscribers, promising the addition of said programming “won’t be a distraction” and will be “respectful of subscribers.”
“I think many [in Hollywood] just don’t understand the richness of storytelling and production values of video games,” she said. “They also don’t fully understand the expanse of the industry in terms of the number of gamers and the loyalty and conviction the gamers have.
“Microsoft has 85 million consoles sold globally. With connected devices like cable and satellite boxes in homes, the challenge is how do you get people to connect. With 48 million subscribers through Xbox Live, Microsoft has a bigger audience than DirecTV.”
Tellem the console has a “huge millennial audience,” and is the “most sought-after targeted group” by advertisers and content programmers.
“We’re very sensitive to make sure whatever we deliver won’t be a distraction and is respectful of subscribers,” she said. “Either it’s only on Xbox or best on Xbox. We’re talking to studios and production companies about windowing. To limit access to great content and great creators is a disservice.
“We hope we can go off our platform to introduce Xbox Originals to people not aware of Xbox. Part of the fun of this job is bringing people in from Hollywood and showing them what Xbox One does. It opens up people’s minds in terms of what the technology is capable of.”
As reported at the end of April, the initial slate of shows will begin airing in June through the XBL service, with Steven Spielberg and Ridley Scott attached to two projects based on the Halo franchise; the football talent show Every Street United; six-part series called Signal to Noise; and the UK-produced drama show Humans.
Other shows confirmed as in-development include: Deadlands, Extraordinary Believers, Fearless, Gun Machine, and an untitled variety show from comedienne Sarah Silverman and fellow comedians Tim and Eric and Reggie Watts along with Arrested Development’s Michael Cera.