A number of major advertising buyers are not happy with Microsoft's decision on Thursday to slowly shut down its Xbox Entertainment Studios division and cancel most of its plans to offer original television style content for Xbox Live users.
Microsoft's move to end its TV production plans, made as part of its overall restructuring that will cause 18,000 of its employees to lose their jobs, came just three months after the Xbox Entertainment Studios team made their pitch to big ad buyers, showing them plans to offer a variety of scripted and documentary shows for Xbox Live users.
Now all but a few of those shows have been cancelled and many of those ad buyers don't feel they can trust Microsoft's commitment to advertising. Vik Kathuria, the Global Chief Media Officer at Razorfish, was one of those folks who felt Microsoft has made a mistake in this area, saying, "It's insane given that's where the media business is headed…with one end focusing on programmatic and the other on original high-end content. Confidence will be hard to earn back after this."
Microsoft will still help produce a few original shows, including its Halo live action TV series that boasts Steven Spielberg as one of its executive producers. Microsoft is partnering with the pay cable TV network Showtime on the Halo series and when asked about its current status, Showtime leader David Nevins stated, "My understanding is that they are not going to build a new streaming service, but Halo is their biggest property, and there is enormous will to find a way to bring it to a new media."
What do you think of the decision by Microsoft to cancel most of its original TV plans?