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The week in OTT: Bollywood star joins Netflix; T-Mobile offers free DIRECTV Now


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The week in OTT: Bollywood star joins Netflix; T-Mobile offers free DIRECTV Now

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

* Netflix Inc. signed a content deal with Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan's production house Red Chillies Entertainment, according to a Dec. 15 news release. Netflix will get exclusive subscription video-on-demand rights to films from India-based Red Chillies, as well as any new movies released in Indian theaters within the next three years. The first title being added to Netflix's library is "Dear Zindagi," which was released in theaters on Nov. 25.

* T-Mobile US Inc. is luring AT&T Wireless customers with a free one-year of the DIRECTV Now service. In a Dec. 15 news release, the carrier said switching AT&T Inc. customers will receive a $35 monthly bill credit, the monthly cost of DIRECTV Now service, for a period of 12 months if they activate two lines and shift their numbers to T-Mobile ONE. Further, Simple Choice customers can access the streaming service on Binge On.

In other platform news …

* Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.'s Youku Business Division signed a three-year licensing deal with Oriental DreamWorks to release a bundle of DreamWorks Animation content in China, the company said Dec. 15. The content will be made available on Alibaba Digital Media & Entertainment Group unit's three major streaming platforms: Youku Tudou Inc.'s video websites Youku and Tudou, and Tmall Box, the set-top box from Alibaba's home entertainment business. The first set of content is being pegged for release in January 2017, including titles such as "Kung Fu Panda," "Shrek" and "How to Train Your Dragon."

* Video-streaming service fuboTV struck affiliate agreements with 21st Century Fox Inc.'s Fox Networks Group, Comcast Corp.'s NBCUniversal Media LLC, A+E Networks, Crown Media Family Networks, Fuse Media, NBA TV (US) and The Weather Channel (US), The Hollywood Reporter reported Dec. 14. FuboTV will launch a beta version of the service in the coming weeks for $34.99 per month, and the service will reportedly cost $49.99 when it is out of the beta phase.

* Facebook Inc. is in talks with television studios and video producers about funding some seed video content, Recode reported Dec. 14, citing a statement by Ricky Van Veen, head of Facebook's global creative strategy. Van Veen reportedly said the content being considered includes original and licensed scripted, unscripted, and sports content.

* Walt Disney Co. is in discussions with other major Hollywood studios to join its digital films service Disney Movies Anywhere, Bloomberg News reported Dec. 14, citing people with knowledge of the strategy. Disney, which seeks to make its offering more appealing, is reportedly convincing five major studios and other smaller players to provide content for its digital rights locker platform.

* AT&T on Dec. 13 exclusively launched Taylor Swift NOW across all its video platforms. Released in collaboration with singer Taylor Swift, the video experience has content organized in 13 themed chapters. Taylor Swift NOW showcases videos, concert performances and behind-the-scenes footage from Swift's archives. The content is available on DIRECTV Now, DIRECTV Channel 1113, and U-verse channel 1501. The content is also available for streaming on-the-go through the apps of these platforms.

* Netflix's international subscribers are expected to surpass domestic users by 2018, Digital TV Europe reported Dec. 12, citing a Digital TV research. The research predicts that the streaming giant will have roughly 118 million global paying subscribers by 2021, which is 27.5% of the world's subscription video-on-demand market. By 2021, 44% of Netflix's subscriber count will come from the U.S.