Hollywood & Bing: Microsoft Enables Users To Sample TV, Movies, Music Via Search

Microsoft rolled out a section related to entertainment on its Bing search engine Tuesday night that allows consumers to watch television shows, get movie information, play games and listen to music without leaving the page. The step aims to make it easier for consumers to click, play, listen and watch.

Yusuf Mehdi, senior vice president of Microsoft's online audience business, demonstrated the features at an event at the SoHo House on Sunset in Hollywood. What better place to introduce Bing's commitment to entertainment, he told attendees.

Mehdi says Microsoft estimates consumers conduct about 1.5 billion queries monthly on Bing related to entertainment. Now they have one-time access to each of the more than 5 million full-length songs through a license agreement between the music labels and Zune. Links to Amazon, iTunes and Zune provide a way to purchase a digital file of the music. There's no need to install a player, register to use the service or provide an email address.

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More than 70% of people look for lyrics online. So, Bing added the ability to search for lyrics. TV content is made available through deals with Hulu, Viacom and CBS. The entertainment section will provide access to about 100 casual games that people can play in the browser or download from the site.

There are thousands of episodes from more than 1,500 shows, so watching favorite TV shows online become easy. "About 30% of people have watched a full-length episode of television on their laptop," Mehdi says.

In true Hollywood fashion, "American Idol" host Ryan Seacrest later in the evening hosted a star-studded panel discussion on the future of entertainment and how technology plays a role. Among those on the panel, Twitter Co-founder Biz Stone, Producer Todd Phillips, Creator Matthew Weiner, The Hurt Locker's Kathryn Bigelow, among others.

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