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Xbox Creative Exec Pushes Gaming Consoles as Cord-Cutter Option

25 Jun, 2014 By: Chris Tribbey

SANTA MONICA, Calif. — Lydia Antonini, like a lot of people, isn’t a fan of Time Warner Cable.

“I’m a cord-cutter because Time Warner was so aggravating,” said Antonini, SVP of creative for Xbox Entertainment Studios, speaking at the Next TV Summit and Expo June 24. “The [Xbox] 360 gave me the ability to do what I wanted, when I wanted.”

While she may have a little bias, the ability of today’s gaming consoles to act as all-encompassing media hubs is notable: Xbox users spend an average of five hours a day on the system, often on nothing related to games, Antonini said.

Microsoft recently opened up access to nearly 200 third-party apps without the need for a monthly subscription. That may be partly due to the company’s aim to have its Xbox One on equal footing with Sony’s PlayStation 4.

But in addition to opening up app access to everyone, part of Microsoft’s plan to make its 360 and One consoles the main media hub in the living room is original content. Antonini looks at it this way: An 18-year-old with an Xbox a decade ago had his console in the basement of his parents’ house, she said. Today as a 28-year-old, he has it plugged into the living room HDTV, and is using it for a lot more than gaming.

That’s why Microsoft created Xbox Entertainment Studios.

“It became apparent TV content was a huge activity with our audience, and the powers that be responded to that,” Antonini said. “We want to give [console owners] more value.”

Starting this month, Xbox Entertainment Studios is rolling out a series of dramas, comedies, documentaries, animation and live events, available only on Xbox 360, Xbox One and other Microsoft devices.

“We are developing premium, original content for the Xbox community, which is an audience we are incredibly respectful of,” Nancy Tellem, president of Xbox Entertainment Studios, said during the original announcement. “We believe Xbox Originals should embrace the way our fans think about traditional TV.”

Steven Spielberg is executive producing a live-action TV series centered around the “Halo” franchise; soccer players Thierry Henry and Edgar Davids are featured in an unscripted series called “Every Street United”; the studio is creating six documentary series; and U.K. broadcaster Channel 4 is co-producing a drama called “Humans” with the studio. 

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