Microsoft execs made a lot of promises, but had little to show, in their Newfront presentation to attract advertising for their Xbox Originals shows. “I know from experience that building something substantial won’t be easy and will take time,” Xbox Entertainment Studios President Nancy Tellem told th NYC gathering. But with 85M Xbox owners, the Internet delivered programming for the game console “is in a unique position to reach audiences everywhere…This is where TV wants to be.”
Based on clips from Possibilia — a short film that gives viewers the ability to choose the direction of the story — TV wants to be schizophrenic. The film shows two characters in a troubled relationship whose feelings change with the click of a button as they constantly ask questions such as “Are you going to stay or are you going to go?”…”You don’t think I can handle unfamiliar territory?” …”Why is it so hard to be a human being?”
The company is “laser focused” on appealing to Millennials, EVP Jordan Levin says adding that “Microsoft understands what it takes to achieve these goals.” As you might imagine, the original shows are heavy on fantasy (as in the drama Humans planned for 2015) and goofy gags (as in Extraordinary Believers). A series of six interactive documentaries from Jonathan Chinn, called Signal To Noise, will focus on technology-related matters including a dig this past weekend to find long buried cartridges from Atari’s reviled E.T. game. Execs also hyped their plans to show the Bonaroo Music and Arts Festival.
The main selling point, from Global Accounts & Agencies VP Stephen Kim, is that Microsoft “created an ecosystem that has power to reach your audience and deliver results for you and your clients….This is a new day for Microsoft and our commitment to advertising is clear.” The show kicked off with performances from Lake Street Dive and ended on a retro note Nile Rogers and the ladies of Chic (plus a recorded backing track with bass, drums and strings) performing Le Freak, Everybody Dance, and Good Times.