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Microsoft Adds Content Partners to Xbox Live

XBOX Live Logo NEW - H 2012

MTV, The CW and PBS will join existing content partners like HBO, ESPN and Netflix.

Microsoft is poised to announce Tuesday a slew of new partnerships for its Xbox Live product, which seems to be steadily becoming an alternative to cable and satellite TV.

Microsoft is adding 40 partners -- 10 over the course of a week or so beginning Tuesday -- and 30 more by spring, ultimately taking the number of content partnerships to about 115.

Some of the new additions include MTV, PBS, The CW, Napster, Machinima, PopcornFlix, Ameba TV, CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada, Deezer and Flixster. Those and others will join existing partners like HBO, ESPN and Netflix.

Xbox Live boasts 40 million users worldwide, though Microsoft won’t say how many of them subscribe to the “gold” product, which costs $60 annually and gives users access to the premium video content supplied by Xbox Live’s partners.

Time spent using entertainment apps on Xbox Live grew 63 percent in November compared with the same month the previous year, according to Ross Honey, the platform’s GM of entertainment and advertising. Microsoft sold 1.26 million Xbox consoles in the U.S. in November, giving it an installed base of 70 million units worldwide.

“We’ve steadily over a number of years offered consumers an increasing amount of content,” said Honey. “We were the first video game console to offer movies and television on-demand, where you can buy and rent HD movies, and we saw a tremendous response.”