February 4, 2009

Microsoft To Get Involved In Film Industry

Microsoft announced on Wednesday that it is teaming up with MEAN magazine to produce a short video comedy series for the Zune MP3 player.

The Redmond, Washington-based software company said that the digital series would be called "Cinemash" and would feature film and television actors reenacting the roles from classic movies that they always dreamed of playing.

The first episode will be available for free downloading this spring through the Zune Marketplace and online store and eventually through other platforms like MSN and Xbox LIVE, according to Microsoft.

"Video is an important part of the Zune experience, and by working with cutting-edge partners like MEAN we are expanding our offering to give our customers original programming they cant get anywhere else," said Paul Davidson, lead video and original content producer for Zune.

"We will also look to expand distribution across other Microsoft platforms to make the series available to an even larger audience," he added.

According to Microsoft, plans are in the works "with some of the most talented actors, directors and producers in the entertainment industry" to produce additional shows.

"Zune will develop additional pilots over the next 12 months ranging from live-action and animated comedy to urban and music programming," Microsoft said.

MEAN, which stands for Music, Entertainment, Art and News, is a bimonthly magazine that focuses on fashion, art, music and film, and has produced short videos featuring actors like James McAvoy, Kate Beckinsale and Ben Kingsley.

"Cinemash will give talent a new platform for creative collaboration, bringing together state-of-the-art production quality with digital distribution to millions of viewers," said MEAN publisher Kashy Khaledi.

Microsoft began making television shows from Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, NBC Universal and other entertainment networks available for viewing on Zunes last year, in an attempt to combat Apple's popular iPod and iTunes store.


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