Microsoft has clamped down its plans to launch an online subscription service for TV shows and movies, according to a report from Reuters. Microsoft were deep in discussion with potential programming partners for over 12 months now, and were, up until recently, planning to launch the service in the upcoming months.
They have done a 180-degree turn on that decision, after deciding that the licensing costs were too high for the business model they envisaged, according to people "familiar with the discussions". One senior media executive who was involved in these talks, said:
They built Microsoft TV, they demoed it for us, they asked for rate cards but then said 'ooh ah, that's expensive.'
Early versions of the service included the same Kinect-based features such as voice and motion control to change channels, and more. Similar to Netflix, Microsoft's service would've allowed a monthly fee for a package of programming from someone other than your local cable or satellite TV company. Being different to Netflix, Microsoft hoped to offer current TV shows and live networks on their service, which made it a much higher cost proposition.
Instead of the subscription model, Microsoft are changing gears and continue to work closely with the TV business to distribute TV shows through the Web. Instead of helping customers replace their cable TV packages, they'll focus on delivering programming through their Xbox gaming system to existing cable subscribers.