According to a report in the Hollywood Reporter by way of Reuters, Microsoft is talking to talent agencies and production studios in Hollywood in hopes of licensing some exclusive video content for the Zune. This isn't a first for Microsoft: the company has exclusive Internet-only shows on MSN Video through its MSN Originals program, and just last month the company announced a plan to offer original short movies through the Xbox Live service.
Are these rumors true? I have no idea. Will they help the Zune? Probably not. Exclusive video makes sense for a game console because it's already connected to a TV. But video on a tiny screen doesn't have the same appeal. I can see how an occasional sports highlight or funny video could lighten a commute--assuming you live in New York or some other large city with useful and abundant public transit--but it's not something that's going to convince users to buy a Zune instead of an iPod. Instead, I think Microsoft's best hope is to repurpose the Zune brand into the consumer mobile phone space to present a credible alternative to the iPhone. I'm hearing rumors from lots of sources that the company is well on its way down this path--there might even be a Zune client for Windows Mobile phones in time for the 2008 holiday season.