Microsoft Corporation Just Switched Off Xbox TV

Satya Nadella’s new direction for Microsoft Corporation means cutting back on original programming for Xbox TV.

Jul 20, 2014 at 7:30AM

Xbox Originals Logo

Mr. Softy is, for now, giving up its Xbox TV ambitions. Credit: Microsoft.

Xbox TV doesn't matter as much to Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) as it did just a few months ago. Xbox chief Phil Spencer said as much in an email to employees earlier this week. Here's the most relevant excerpt for investors, brought to you by way of the gaming site Kotaku:

I am pleased that ... members of the [Xbox Entertainment Studios] team remain committed to new, original programming already in production like the upcoming documentary series Signal to Noise, whose first installment takes on the rise and fall of gaming icon Atari, and of course, the upcoming game franchise series Halo: Nightfall, and the Halo television series which will continue as planned with 343 Industries.

Rewind to move forward
So if you bought an Xbox One on the promise that you'd have access to exclusive programming, you'll soon be out of luck. Xbox Studios isn't going to produce anything past its original commitments.

Yet that may be more than enough. April's announced programming slate included not only the Halo series but also the fantasy series Deadlands, a survival thriller titled Winterworld, and an adaptation of Warren Ellis' detective novel Gun Machine. Any or all of them could still come to Xbox TV, presuming they meet the "already in production" caveat Spencer included in his email.

And those that don't? Expect Mr. Softy to take a hard line. CEO Satya Nadella's 3,100-word missive outlining Microsoft's new direction doesn't leave much room for the sorts of experimentation XES President Nancy Tellem had in mind. "We don't necessarily know what approach will work, and we don't necessarily know what approach won't work," Tellem said at the unveiling for Xbox Originals.

Playing the content game poorly
Much as I've come to like Microsoft's newfound diversity of ideas and experiments, I can also appreciate Nadella's desire to focus on Mr. Softy's unique qualities. And Xbox TV is anything but unique; Amazon.com and Netflix already have plenty to offer consumers looking to stream original shows.

Meanwhile, content is getting expensive. Look at Outcast. Cinemax engaged in a bidding war with AMC Networks and others over the rights to adapt the new comic book from Robert Kirkman, co-creator of The Walking Dead. Microsoft needn't waste tens or hundreds of millions competing with networks whose very survival depends on making great TV and movies.

Why the new Xbox TV strategy is good for investors
Importantly, Nadella's strategy doesn't preclude future bets on programming. Shrinking his bets now gives him and the XES team time to evaluate, as Tellem put it, what works and what doesn't.

Let's also remember that Sony (NYSE:SNE), Mr. Softy's primary console competitor and a company with far more experience developing and distributing entertainment, is starting small by focusing on Powers. The forthcoming adaptation of the beloved comic book from writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Michael Avon Oeming will effectively launch the company's PlayStation TV efforts. And if it doesn't work? Sony has plenty of other pre-produced content to fall back on. Microsoft doesn't have that luxury, which makes a smaller bet on programming the smarter play.

Your cable company is scared, but you can get rich
You know cable's going away. But do you know how to profit? There's $2.2 trillion out there to be had. Currently, cable grabs a big piece of it. That won't last. And when cable falters, three companies are poised to benefit. Click here for their names. Hint: They're not Netflix, Google, and Apple

 

Tim Beyers is a member of the Motley Fool Rule Breakers stock-picking team and the Motley Fool Supernova Odyssey I mission. He owned shares of Netflix, Apple, and Google (A and C shares) at the time of publication. Check out Tim's Web home and portfolio holdings or connect with him on Google+Tumblr, or Twitter, where he goes by @milehighfool. You can also get his insights delivered directly to your RSS reader.

The Motley Fool recommends Apple, Amazon.com, Google (A and C shares), and Netflix and owns shares of Apple, Amazon.com, Google (A and C shares), Microsoft, and Netflix. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

1 Key Step to Get Rich

Our mission at The Motley Fool is to help the world invest better. Whether that’s helping people overcome their fear of stocks all the way to offering clear and successful guidance on complicated-sounding options trades, we can help.

Feb 1, 2016 at 4:54PM

To be perfectly clear, this is not a get-rich action that my Foolish colleagues and I came up with. But we wouldn't argue with the approach.

A 2015 Business Insider article titled, "11 websites to bookmark if you want to get rich" rated The Motley Fool as the #1 place online to get smarter about investing.

"The Motley Fool aims to build a strong investment community, which it does by providing a variety of resources: the website, books, a newspaper column, a radio [show], and [newsletters]," wrote (the clearly insightful and talented) money reporter Kathleen Elkins. "This site has something for every type of investor, from basic lessons for beginners to investing commentary on mutual funds, stock sectors, and value for the more advanced."

Our mission at The Motley Fool is to help the world invest better, so it's nice to receive that kind of recognition. It lets us know we're doing our job.

Whether that's helping the entirely uninitiated overcome their fear of stocks all the way to offering clear and successful guidance on complicated-sounding options trades, we want to provide our readers with a boost to the next step on their journey to financial independence.

Articles and beyond

As Business Insider wrote, there are a number of resources available from the Fool for investors of all levels and styles.

In addition to the dozens of free articles we publish every day on our website, I want to highlight two must-see spots in your tour of fool.com.

For the beginning investor

Investing can seem like a Big Deal to those who have yet to buy their first stock. Many investment professionals try to infuse the conversation with jargon in order to deter individual investors from tackling it on their own (and to justify their often sky-high fees).

But the individual investor can beat the market. The real secret to investing is that it doesn't take tons of money, endless hours, or super-secret formulas that only experts possess.

That's why we created a best-selling guide that walks investors-to-be through everything they need to know to get started. And because we're so dedicated to our mission, we've made that available for free.

If you're just starting out (or want to help out someone who is), go to www.fool.com/beginners, drop in your email address, and you'll be able to instantly access the quick-read guide ... for free.

For the listener

Whether it's on the stationary exercise bike or during my daily commute, I spend a lot of time going nowhere. But I've found a way to make that time benefit me.

The Motley Fool offers five podcasts that I refer to as "binge-worthy financial information."

Motley Fool Money features a team of our analysts discussing the week's top business and investing stories, interviews, and an inside look at the stocks on our radar. It's also featured on several dozen radio stations across the country.

The hosts of Motley Fool Answers challenge the conventional wisdom on life's biggest financial issues to reveal what you really need to know to make smart money moves.

David Gardner, co-founder of The Motley Fool, is among the most respected and trusted sources on investing. And he's the host of Rule Breaker Investing, in which he shares his insights into today's most innovative and disruptive companies ... and how to profit from them.

Market Foolery is our daily look at stocks in the news, as well as the top business and investing stories.

And Industry Focus offers a deeper dive into a specific industry and the stories making headlines. Healthcare, technology, energy, consumer goods, and other industries take turns in the spotlight.

They're all informative, entertaining, and eminently listenable ... and I don't say that simply because the hosts all sit within a Nerf-gun shot of my desk. Rule Breaker Investing and Answers contain timeless advice, so you might want to go back to the beginning with those. The other three take their cues from the market, so you'll want to listen to the most recent first. All are available at www.fool.com/podcasts.

But wait, there's more

The book and the podcasts – both free ... both awesome – also come with an ongoing benefit. If you download the book, or if you enter your email address in the magical box at the podcasts page, you'll get ongoing market coverage sent straight to your inbox.

Investor Insights is valuable and enjoyable coverage of everything from macroeconomic events to investing strategies to our analyst's travels around the world to find the next big thing. Also free.

Get the book. Listen to a podcast. Sign up for Investor Insights. I'm not saying that any of those things will make you rich ... but Business Insider seems to think so.


Compare Brokers