Former XBox, CBS executive moves to interactive-video start-up

Former XBox, CBS executive moves to interactive-video start-up
Nancy Tellem poses for a photo in Redmond, Wash., on April 16, 2013. (Stuart Isett)

Former CBS and Microsoft executive Nancy Tellem has joined a start-up that's developing technology to create choose-your-own-adventure videos, she announced Wednesday.

Tellem, who until recently headed Microsoft’s content development efforts at Xbox Entertainment Studios, will be based in Culver City as executive chair and chief media officer for Interlude.

She was among the early investors in the start-up and said she decided after Microsoft shuttered its Hollywood unit last year that she wanted to come on board because innovation in entertainment "would come from outside the traditional media companies."

Using Interlude, hundreds of musicians, filmmakers and others have created videos in which users have the ability to dictate what’s in front of their eyes. In a music video for Bob Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone," viewers can flip at any point through shots from different TV shows in which the characters' lips are moving in sync to Dylan’s lyrics. Interlude’s technology team is located in Tel Aviv.

Tellem will be in charge of making sure Interlude adheres to its long-term strategy, which includes generating revenue from advertising and the sale of virtual currency to unlock extra features in the productions.

"We're very much focused on engaging the millennial audience, and the individual videos have shown an amazing level of engagement," she said.

She cited how a movie designed through Interlude that normally would be about seven minutes long can stretch to 90 minutes depending on the choices of the viewer along the way.

"It's an accordion-like experience," she said. "It can extract or contract depending on the audience's choice."

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