RTÉ wants its content to find new television-shy audiences on as many platforms as possible. Microsoft is reinventing Xbox as an all-purpose entertainment brand. So what could be more logical that putting the RTÉ Player on Microsoft's Xbox 360 consoles?
The video-on-demand app will now be available to Xbox Live Gold members in Ireland, who will be able to use the Kinect voice and gesture control facility to navigate, play, pause and give other commands to the RTÉ Player. The partnership with Microsoft brings the RTÉ Player to “a whole new experiential level”, says RTÉ Digital managing director Múirne Laffan.
Microsoft's Shirley Finnerty said usage of the Xbox Live entertainment apps had "increased significantly". The Xbox One device, which goes on sale in November, will be positioned not as a gaming console, but as a broader home entertainment platform with some exclusive television content.
“We’re currently on a journey where we are transitioning the Xbox from the bedroom down to the living room,” says Finnerty.
RTÉ expects programmes that appeal to 15-34-year-olds – including Homeland, New Girl, Republic of Telly and soaps Home and Away and Neighbours – to be popular on the Xbox version of the RTÉ Player. "I would not be surprised to see this veering towards the younger demographic, whereas on tablets, there is more of a middle demographic," says Laffan.
As with other iterations of the RTÉ Player, the Xbox 360 version does not include the full range of on-demand content available on the browser version due to the complex web of programme rights, but Laffan says RTÉ tries to clear as much as possible for each platform.
The player is already available on PlayStation 3, as well as RTÉ.ie, various iOS and Android devices, Samsung smart TVs and UPC.