The channel would be exclusive to subscribers of Microsoft’s Xbox Live video-game network, said the people, who sought anonymity because the talks are private. At an April 12 meeting in Redmond, Washington, Chernin suggested raising Xbox Live’s monthly fee by $1 or $2 to add programming aimed at the online service’s young, male target audience, one person said.
The channel would be owned jointly by Chernin and Microsoft, said one of the people, and would offer reruns and original shows. Chernin’s proposal underscores Hollywood’s efforts to find new ways to convince viewers to pay for films and TV shows delivered on the Web.
“Peter is talking to lots of people about lots of ideas in the digital space,” said Allan Mayer, his publicist. Mayer wouldn’t comment on talks with Microsoft. Wayne Hickey, a spokesman for Microsoft, declined to comment. Microsoft, the world’s biggest software maker, hasn’t responded to the proposal, both people said. Chernin also broached the idea for the channel with Conan O’Brien’s representatives before the late-night comedian opted for a show with Time Warner Inc.’s TBS, one of the people said.
Running original shows and repeats, the channel would be owned jointly by Microsoft and Chernin, who stepped down as News Corp.’s second- in-command in June last year. He now runs his own production company, Chernin Entertainment.
Xbox Live has a community of over 23 million people across 26 countries.