"The Guild" might be a hit on Xbox Live, but don't look for it to inspire many imitators. A senior Microsoft executive says the sponsorship deal it was able to wangle was rare, and such deals are hard to swing.
Ross Honey the general manager of global content acquisition and strategy in Microsoft's media and entertainment group, told Business Week The Guild—starring Felecia Day—is working out mostly because the series has an overall sponsorship from Sprint. Other series will be unlikely to find such sponsorship, Honey said, and Xbox Live's advertising system isn't developed enough to handle multiple ad insertions, similar to a network broadcast.
Writes Business Week:
Honey's answers didn't make the Xbox Live sound like much of a Web content distribution opportunity. As he explained it, the process of cutting deals for Web series and securing and inserting ads in them is just too much hassle.
Last year's ill-fated horror/comedy series, which led one director to rip Microsoft as a "dreadful, non-talent friendly company", was briefly mentioned in the report as an example of the low return seen for so much work. Business Week says Honey, "made it pretty clear that Xbox isn't in the Web video acquisition game, but didn't rule it out entirely".