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The Week in OTT: NBCU, Starz reach streaming deals; Sling TV raises prices

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.

* NBCUniversal Media LLC struck a long-term deal for the continued carriage of Starz's networks on Comcast Corp.'s Xfinity TV. Under the agreement, the flagship Starz (US) network, the Starz Encore portfolio of channels and related video-on-demand content will continue to be available to Xfinity customers with expanded distribution on the Comcast Flex platform. Flex is streaming product made available through a set-top box that is tailored to Comcast internet-only customers.

NBCU also entered a new content deal with Starz parent company Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. to license content from the studio for its upcoming streaming service, Peacock. NBCU will license content to Starz to be featured in the U.S. and on its international streaming service, STARZPLAY.

* DISH Network Corp.'s Sling TV LLC added three cable news channels to its streaming channel lineup for all subscribers, among other channel additions, and increased the price of its base packages, citing the rising cost of channel carriage. As of Dec. 23, new customers will be charged $30 per month for either the Sling Orange or Sling Blue packages or $45 per month for both. That represents a $5-per-month pricing increase for all three options.

* The U.K.-based DAZN expects to be an aggressive player when rights to several of the top U.S. sports leagues enter the negotiating cycle over the next couple of years. Joe Markowski, DAZN executive vice president for North America, speaking at sports industry conference in New York, said the streaming proponent plans on being in the mix as rights negotiations face off over the next 18 months.

* Apple Inc. picked up the rights to docuseries, "Visible: Out on Television," Variety reported Dec. 17. The series, which is created by Ryan White and Jessica Hargrave and executive produced by Wanda Sykes and Wilson Cruz, will premiere Feb. 14, 2020, on Apple TV+.

* Netflix Inc. provided a detailed breakdown of its international subscribers and regional revenue for the first time in a regulatory filing. The filing showed that the streamer's most lucrative region per subscriber remains the U.S. and Canada, where it reported average monthly revenue of $12.36 per paid membership. Subscriber growth is fastest internationally, however.

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