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The week in OTT: NBCU to pay users to stream shows; Apple picks up comedy series

The week in over-the-top provides a recap of recent news related to streaming initiatives in the U.S. from various networks and platforms.

* Hulu LLC started streaming quiz show "Jeopardy!," according to an Aug. 10 news release. Hulu kicked off the premiere by streaming the show's flagship special events, including a "Tournament Of Champions," a "College Championship," a "Kids Week" and "Battle Of The Decades."

* Comcast Corp. unit NBCUniversal Media LLC is gearing up to launch an over-the-top service that will pay users to watch shows, Multichannel News reported Aug. 10, citing a company confirmation. The service will reportedly offer single episodes of broadcast and cable shows, along with nonexclusive content from YouTube stars and other content creators.

* Netflix Inc. will premiere the sixth and final season of drama series "House of Cards" on Nov. 2, Broadcasting & Cable reported Aug. 9. Actors Diane Lane and Greg Kinnear join the cast for the final season.

* Apple Inc. picked up a half-hour scripted comedy series set in a video game development studio, Variety reported Aug. 9. Rob McElhenney will star in the series and also write and executive produce alongside Charlie Day.

* Roku Inc. launched The Roku Channel for web users in the U.S., enabling access to the streaming channel through PCs, mobile phones and tablets. The company also launched a "Featured Free" navigation change to the Roku home screen, which offers users direct links to free content, including latest in-season episodes of various network shows and full past-season catch-ups, Roku said.

* Discovery Inc. CEO David Zaslav outlined a number of direct-to-consumer scenarios for analysts on the company's second-quarter earnings call, noting that the company was engaged in talks. "Could we align with somebody? Should we align with some of the existing players? Should we go with ourselves? Should we align with a direct-to-consumer platform? Should we align with a global player?" he said. "We're having a lot of discussions."

* Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. has launched a new platform for over-the-top advertising. CompulseOTT will offer advertisers 15- and 30-second commercials for more than 100 networks and brands on distribution platforms such as Roku, AppleTV, gaming consoles, smart TVs and streaming sticks, the company said Aug. 7.

* Netflix will release "In the Tall Grass," a movie written by Stephen King and his son Joe Hill, worldwide in 2019. According to an Aug. 7 news release, the movie follows a sister and brother who after hearing a young boy's cry for help venture into a vast field of tall grass in Kansas only to discover that something evil lurks there.

* Hulu will premiere Australian drama "Safe Harbour" as an original series in the U.S. The four-part event drama will start streaming on the video service on Aug. 24, the company said Aug. 6.

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