Microsoft announces content deals with ABC-Disney, MGM, NBC Universal at CES

Microsoft chairman Bill Gates announced Jan. 6 new entertainment partnerships with Disney-ABC Television, MGM and NBC Universal during his opening keynote address at the 2008 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.

The Microsoft-NBC Universal deal is an exclusive agreement under which Microsoft and NBC will deliver on MSN, the official U.S. online home of the 2008 Olympics. The site will give online viewers access to more than 3000 hours of live and on-demand content. The content will be available for free, and it will be powered by Microsoft’s Silverlight video player.

Microsoft president of the Entertainment & Devices Division Robbie Bach revealed the details of the Disney-ABC Television deal under which ABC Television and Disney Channel will be available for download directly to the Xbox 360 console. All U.S. Xbox LIVE members will have access to select SD and HD shows and movies from the ABC Television Network, ABC Family, ABC News, Disney Channel and Toon Disney as part of an agreement. More than 500 hours of shows such as “Lost,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Ugly Betty” and “Desperate Housewives” will be available. Past and current ABC shows will be available with new episodes arriving on the service the day after they air on TV. The MGM deal will make the studio’s library of movies available for the Xbox 360.

During the presentation, Microsoft also announced that its Microsoft Mediaroom IPTV middleware is now on 1 million STBs worldwide.