You can spend lots of time speculating about what happens when the TV and the Web finally converge. But if you want to speed things up, just ask Microsoft, which is already watching it happen.
Redmond is facing all sorts of challenges, but its Xbox is a clear success, not only as a gaming console, but as an Internet-connected entertainment device, which gives users access to video services like Netflx and HBO Go, and, increasingly, cable programming from the likes of ESPN. Microsoft says Xbox users now spend more time consuming media than playing games.
Which is why we’re very excited to bring two key Xbox executives onstage next month at D: Dive into Media: Yusuf Mehdi, senior vice president of Microsoft’s Interactive Entertainment Business, and Nancy Tellem, the former CBS executive who is building a new production studio for the device.
Mehdi is the man running marketing, strategy and corporate development for Xbox, and he’s the guy who links the console up with all the studios, networks and publishers who are creating content for the device. Prior to this job, he oversaw Microsoft’s media presence on the Web.
Tellem, a veteran TV executive, is the former CBS president now tasked with creating new programming for the device. She’s building out a Hollywood presence for Steve Ballmer, and her hire last fall was Microsoft’s most aggressive move into the content business so far.
They’re joining a stellar lineup of speakers Feb. 11 and 12 at the Ritz-Carlton in Laguna Niguel, Calif. Here’s who we’ve told you about so far: Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton, Hearst Magazines president David Carey, Google chief business officer Nikesh Arora, Facebook partnership vice president Dan Rose, HBO co-president Eric Kessler, Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino, CollegeHumor co-founder Ricky Van Veen, Vice Media co-founder Shane Smith, Intel media head Erik Huggers and Samsung media head David Eun, Netflix content chief Ted Sarandos (and guest), New Republic owner Chris Hughes, USA Today publisher Larry Kramer, and Dish Network founder Charlie Ergen.
And, yes, we’ll have yet more names to announce in the coming weeks. But if you want to see these folks in person, register now, and we’ll see you soon.