Canal Plus closes Xbox deal

Users to access 3,000 films, 3,000 other titles

BRUSSELS — Microsoft and French paybox Canal Plus have inked a deal that gives users of the Xbox 360 games console in Gaul access to a significant slice of the channel’s content.

The agreement advances Microsoft’s international strategy for the Xbox, following a similar deal in May with BSkyB that will bring TV content to consoles in the U.K. and Ireland.

The French deal includes video-on-demand service Canalplay, which will make 3,000 films and 3,000 other titles available to Xbox Live subscribers.

Users already paying for Canal Plus catch-up TV and live soccer service Foot Plus will also be able to access them through Xbox Live.

Benefits include increased interactivity, which the companies think will appeal to soccer fans. Watching a match on an Xbox will allow groups of fans to chat, exchange info and interact through avatars.

Microsoft estimates that more than one million French households own an Xbox.

The partnership foresees further agreements covering other unspecified Canal Plus content and Microsoft platforms.