Microsoft Hires Ex-CBS Executive to Oversee Xbox Content

Microsoft Corp. hired former CBS Corp. television executive Nancy Tellem to oversee content produced for the company’s Xbox entertainment console.

Tellem, who was president of CBS Network Television Entertainment Group, has joined Microsoft as entertainment and digital media president, according to a statement today from the Redmond, Washington-based company.

The appointment highlights Microsoft’s increased emphasis on delivering movies, sports and television shows through the Xbox 360, a gaming console about to enter the seventh year since its release. It has more than 65 applications that connect to such services as Netflix, Hulu Plus and Time Warner Inc.’s HBO GO. Xbox Live’s 44 million subscribers spend on average 80 hours a month consuming online video, said Phil Spencer, corporate vice president of Microsoft Studios.

“The box has really evolved into a platform for creators and consumers to find all the content they love,” Spencer said in a telephone interview.

Tellem, who will head a new production studio in Los Angeles, will examine Microsoft’s portfolio of games for sources of content, and also will mine Hollywood for movies, television shows and Web content, she said, speaking in the same interview.

“It’s all about creating compelling content,” Tellem said. “We’re opening our doors to all types of talent.”

Though the executives declined to discuss specific budgets for such content, Spencer said the company plans to make a significant commitment since “being state-of-the-art and extremely high-quality is critical to gaining consumer mind share.”

Tellem oversaw network entertainment at CBS until 2009, when she stepped down to become an adviser to Chief Executive officer Leslie Moonves.

Microsoft was little changed at $31.18 at the New York close. The shares have risen 20 percent this year.

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