2 Ways Xbox Entertainment Studios’ Slate May Find New Life

/ Jul 18, 2014


Words that shocked the industry:

“…in the coming months, we expect to close Xbox Entertainment Studios. I would like to take this opportunity to recognize the accomplishments from the entire team in XES. They have built an impressive slate of original programming and pioneered interactive entertainment on Xbox.”

The statement, delivered yesterday, came as a confirmation of rumors that Microsoft would soon shed a significant portion of its workforce.

And while we have already given a detailed recount of what went wrong and why Microsoft/Xbox would venture down Original Programming Lane for the second time in seven years, the bigger question begging an answer is: what of the “impressive slate of original programming and…interactive entertainment”?

This is likely the first question any IP-mongering television executive would ask and it’s not uncommon in Hollywood to see studios and networks return the IP rights back to the original holders if the project doesn’t get made. Sometimes this can be years; sometimes a series of drawn out moments.

But for XES-partnered producers, the superficial answer was already addressed by Microsoft’s head of Xbox and Microsoft Studios Phil Spencer in a company-wide memo – select titles already in production will be seen through.

“I would hope that creators have the chance to take their IP back, re-energize it and find new distribution. The executives [at XES] had good taste — a lot of really fun projects and hopefully they will see the light of day,” said former Microsoft employee Scott Nocas, who also led the launch of Xbox’s first foray into originals in 2008.

See the light of day, they will!

In fact, there are two paths already quietly unfolding.

Sources who have titles with XES have told VideoInk that over the last few weeks, Xbox Entertainment Studios began offering the rights back to creators whose projects were in various stages of early development and production.

JASH Rubberhead PosterOne such company – Jash – has distributed a comment that insinuates they have retained the rights to their project “Jash Presents Rubberhead” and confirms it will be moving forward with scheduled taping this Saturday.

“We’re excited to announce “Jash Presents Rubberhead” – a variety show whose first episode is hosted by Sarah Silverman – is still taping this weekend and will have a new home come August.”

“Rubberhead” sat alongside a series of projects laid out by XES at the 2014 Newfronts that pushed the quality of “digital” content closer to TV.

Given the anticipated performances of prominent comedy talent like Eric Wareheim, Seth Rogen, Nathan Fielder, and Charlyne Yi, I wouldn’t be surprised if it gets snapped up by another subscription-based platform like Netflix or Hulu, especially given their comedy focus, or even a TV network.

In fact the programming in development for XES was so strong, others on the slate could have similar fates — pending they are given the option to take back the rights for their projects.

But if not, we’re hearing that just like any massacre, the buzzards were circling as soon as the rumors surfaced. Offers on the table to acquire the content rights from Xbox quickly emerged, according to a source.

And in truth, for the right opportunistic visionary (Ryan Kavanaugh, are you reading this?), acquiring XES’s slate, and seasoned, TV/digital-savvy  team to keep the projects moving forward could be a big win. The right bidder, like a Fullscreen, who has been inching into the original IP game, could then just re-license the interactive content back to Xbox and either self-distribute or shop the content for other distribution deals.

News like this always shakes up the industry, but like we told you, this was a symptom of a larger internal struggle. It’s good to know that this slate likely won’t stay locked in the Xbox IP vault for long.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,


Lesbian Vampires & Kotex: How ‘Carmilla’ Became...


MTV Labs Taps Rapper A$AP Rocky as Creative Director


FCC Cancels Vote on ‘Unlock the Box’ OTT Proposal


Collab Signs Horror Channel BlackBoxTV to Network, Partners on...

Industry Tickets Selling Fast!
Click above to lock in your registration for VidCon 2015!
PewDiePie 3-2-15

PewDiePie Expands Revelmode Gaming Slate with DoubleMoose Deal


Storyful Launches Viral Video Marketplace


Pioneering Hip Hop Exec Lyor Cohen Joins YouTube as Global Head...


Legendary Digital Reveals Alpha Subscription Service Launch...


Time Inc. Teams with Digital Comedy Producers Jash for Branded Content

Amazon Logo

Amazon Greenlights Three Comedy Pilots as Series


How the Cartoon Network Combined the Best of VOD and Linear TV...


Jukin Media Goes Viral for Brands with Ethos Division Launch

Streamy Awards

Streamy Awards Trade In VH1 for YouTube, Again


Matching Ads to Videos Not So Simple, According to Zefr’s...


Plug Pulled on Canadian SVOD Service Shomi


What’s Trending on the Twitter Sale

Machinima Logo

Machinima Teams with SiriusXM for Daily Esports Radio Show


AwesomenessTV, Vice, Complex to Power New HearstLive...


VIDEO: ‘Dirty 30’ Confessions with Stars Hart,...


Facebook Says It’s Sorry It Vastly Overestimated Video...


Pilgrim Media Group CEO Craig Piligian (‘The...


Heroes or Rats?: YouTube Unveils New Program for Creators Who...

Vessel says it's doing well in its first month

Why Verizon is Pursuing Vessel, the...


How Canvs Media is Harvesting Emotional Insights on YouTube,...


Marlon Wayans Getting ‘Naked’ for Netflix with Regina Hall


HuffPost RYOT Launching Virtual Reality Comedy Series and News...


YouTube Launches #voteIRL Campaign Targeting Digital-First Generation


How Top YouTubers (incl. Tyler Oakley & Meghan Rienks)...


Charlie Sheen to Star in Crackle Feature ‘Mad Families’


Gunpowder & Sky Buys Distributor FilmBuff As Vision for...


Toy Freaks Top Viewed YouTube Channel in August According to...


Emmy Wrap-Up 2016: Jeffrey Tambor (‘Transparent’)...


Twitter Scores 2.1 Million Viewers for Thursday Night Footall Kickoff


Vloggers Not Unique Snowflakes: 90 Million Flag YouTube Videos...

Mode Media

‘Billion Dollar Startup’ Mode Media Shuts Down


Who Is Winning The Marketing Revolution And Why?


Netflix Orders ‘She’s Gotta Have It’ Series...


What Is ‘Swedish Dicks’ and Who Is Selling It?


How GMC is Using the AOL Series ‘Seamlessly She’...


Liberty Global to Put Netflix on Set-Top Boxes in 30 Countries