Microsoft tables online TV plan

Microsoft has opted not to launch an online subscription service for TV shows and movies after licensing costs proved too high for the company, sources close to the talks said. Microsoft has been in talks with potential programming partners for over a year. Microsoft TV would have enabled user to pay a monthly fee for a package of programming from someone other than a local cable or satellite TV company. Microsoft will now focus on offering TV channels through the Xbox 360 console to existing cable subscribers.

Vidgame biz dips

The videogame industry wrapped up a tough year in the U.S., with sales down 2% in 2011, versus 2010, to earn $16.6 billion. That figure includes new physical video and PC games, used games, game rentals, subscriptions, digital full-game downloads, social network games, downloadable content, and mobile games, according to the NPD Group. Game sales, which include portable, console and PC game software, generated $9.3 billion, an 8% decline over the $10.1 billion generated in 2010. Microsoft’s Xbox 360 was the top selling console; Activision’s “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3,” was the top game.

Hulu grows 60%

Hulu, available on Android smartphones, the iPhone, iPad, Microsoft Xbox 360 videogame console, Amazon’s Kindle Fire, Barnes and Noble’s NOOK, Blu-ray players and smart TVs from LG, Vizio and Panasonic, as well as its website, grew 60% last year with revenue climbing to $420 million and content up 40%. Hulu Plus now has 1.5 million paying subscribers, more than twice as many over 2010.