Canal Plus boosts Web site offerings

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PARIS -- French pay TV group Canal Plus is spinning a web of technology with the launch of a new interactive Web site, the network announced Monday.

The group plans to revamp its Web site canalplus.fr with free downloads of its popular series and programs, up-to-the-minute sports and news information, video blogs and chats. The free site will be given a total makeover.

"The ambition of canalplus.fr is to create the first premium media on the Web with the best of the Web and the best of Canal Plus," the group said in a statement.

In addition to the channel's news, sports and entertainment programs, the French public can watch the first episodes of the trans-Atlantic hit "Big Love" and home-grown soap "Nos Enfants Cheris" starting this month.

Visitors to canalplus.fr can access channels itele and infosport live from the site. Three programs made exclusively for the Web are also in production: "Le Meilleur du Hier," the best of the previous day's programs; "Pepites sur le Net," stand-out images from the week; and "Breves de Plateau," a "webzine" dedicated to movies.

Canal Plus is hoping to discover new talent by offering Web surfers the opportunity to submit their own material to air on the site. The providers of the chosen videos will be paid for their contributions and given the chance to see their creations on the network's popular shows such as news and entertainment program "Le Grand Journal" or music show "Album de la Semaine" (Album of the Week).

In October, Canal Plus will choose the top three music videos sent in by Internet users and air them on the network. Sports fans can also join the web games by trying their turn at commentating on soccer matches.

The site was designed by interactive agency Duke, part of Avenue A/Razorfish.
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