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The week in OTT: Hopper 3 DVR offers access to Netflix Ultra HD content; Verizon Wireless unveils exclusive HBO Now offer

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The week in OTT: Hopper 3 DVR offers access to Netflix Ultra HD content; Verizon Wireless unveils exclusive HBO Now offer

The week in over-the-topprovides a recap of recent news related to OTT initiatives from variousnetworks and platforms.

*DISH Network Corp.subscribers can now useits Hopper 3 DVR to stream NetflixInc.'s catalog of Ultra HD TV shows and movies. Ultra HD titlesfrom Netflix's catalog join DISH's inventory of Ultra HD content that includesa slate of 4K programming from SonyCorp., OrchardEnterprises Inc. and Mance Media, the company April 8. The Hopper 3 offers 4Ksupport, decoding and outputting 60 frames per second and 10-bit color.

In other platformnews…

*Verizon Communications Inc.unit Verizon Wirelessunveiled an exclusiveoffer for Time Warner Inc.'sHBO (US)over-the-top service HBO Now. People, who switch to Verizon Wireless, upgradeor activate a new line, will receive three months of HBO NOW included with thepurchase, the company saidApril 7. The offer comes ahead of the season six debut of "Game of Thrones"on April 24.

*Cablevision Systems Corp.is offering access toHulu LLC's streamingservice via its cable TV service Optimum TV. The Hulu service can be accessedthrough Optimum channel 605, according to an April 7 . The Hulu channel iscurrently available on all current-generation set top boxes in selectCablevision service areas and will roll out across the remaining footprint inthe coming weeks. Hulu's content owners are 21st Century Fox Inc., and 's .

*Meredith Corp.struck a multichannelpartnership with YouTube network What's Up Moms to create and distributelifestyle content to their combined viewership, the company April 7. Furthermore, What's UpMoms will also come up with a new original digital video series forParents.com. Alphabet Inc.unit Google Inc. ownsYouTube.

* AlRoker, one of the co-hosts on NBC(US)'s "Today" show, launched Roker Media, a Live Streaming Network for talentand brands. Roker Media will develop and produce live streaming shows andcommerce opportunities with talent and brands in the lifestyle, food, music,sports and entertainment categories, according to an April 7 . Roker Mediateamed up with JRSportBrief founders JR Jackson and Charlie Stettler, TVentertainment icon Fred Seibert and music impresario Lyor Cohen, to create thefirst Live Streaming Network. NBC is owned by Comcast.

*Netflix is in final stages of talksto acquire rights to Adam Wingard movie "Death Note," Variety reportedApril 6. The movie, which stars Nat Wolff and Margaret Qualley, is expected tofetch a price in the $40 million to $50 million range. Other studios reportedlyinterested in acquiring the movie project include STX and Themovie is reportedly based on a Japanese Manga series.

*Netflix on April 8 started streaming"Hannibal Takes Edinburgh," a documentary film featuring comedianHannibal Buress, to its global customers. The documentary, filmed in August2013, follows Buress as he performed at art and comedy event Edinburgh FestivalFringe. Netflix saidApril 6 that "Hannibal Takes Edinburgh" is directed by Ryan Ferguson,produced by Bird Gang Bang Birds and Apatow Productions, and executive producedby Buress and Judd Apatow. Netflix debuted Buress' standup comedy special "ComedyCamisado" in February.

*In more Netflix news, the streaming giant will premiere second and third seasons of "Project Mc2"in 2016 for members around the globe. Season 2 of "Project Mc2," ashow about girls who are members of a super-secret spy organization calledNOV8, will premiere Aug. 12, while the third season will premiere in fall 2016,the streaming giant saidApril 6.

*Verizon Communications strucka deal with AwesomenessTV to create a premium short-form mobile video service,which will operate as a new and independent brand, and feature premiumtransactional content for a variety of audiences. The new service will launchas part of the go90 offering and Verizon will fund the initiative through amultiyear agreement with AwesomenessTV, according to an April 6 . The new premiumcontent service will initially be exclusive to Verizon platforms in the U.S.,while AwesomenessTV will retain the right to sell content in the rest of theworld. Verizon also struck a deal to buy about 24.5% stake in AwesomenessTV.

* Yahoo!Inc. will live stream180 games of Major League Baseball's regular season as part of a streamingagreement, Multichannel News reportedApril 5. The season will reportedly feature at least one appearance by each ofthe MLB's 30 teams. Free access to the games will be blacked out in localmarkets.

* T-MobileUS Inc. ramped upits Music Freedom and Binge On music and video streaming initiatives with theaddition of 16 new services. The new additions to Music Freedom includeAmazon.com Inc.'sAmazon Music, Chilltrax, ESPN Radio, OHIO.FM, PreDanz and Uforia, the carriersaid April 5. BingeOn, meanwhile, now offers access to Dailymotion, EPIX (US), OVGuide, OWNZONES, Viki, YipTV and120 Sports, along with ViacomInc.'s Nickelodeon(US), Spike TV(US) and TV Land(US). Music Freedom now offers access to more than 40 services,including streaming services and a variety of regional providers, while BingeOn now offers access to more than 60 video providers. EPIX is a joint venturebetween Viacom, its Paramount Pictures unit, Lions Gate and Metro-Goldwyn-MayerStudios Inc.

* Twitter Inc.won exclusive streaming rightsfor The National Football League's Thursday Night Football during the 2016 NFLregular season. Under the deal, Twitter will stream the 10 Thursday NightFootball games broadcast by NBC and CBS(US), which will also be simulcast on , securing theleague's "Tri-Cast" distribution model of broadcast, cable anddigital, according to an April 5 newsrelease. The NFL and Twitter will now provide free, live streamingvideo of Thursday Night Football without authentication to the more than 800million registered and non-registered users worldwide on the Twitter platformon mobile phones, tablets, PCs and connected TVs. Also, the partnershipincludes in-game highlights from Thursday Night Football, as well as pre-gamePeriscope broadcasts from players and teams.

* Starzlaunched astand-alone subscription streaming app that will cost $8.99 a month. The appwill allow users to access more than 2,400 selections each month, including shows such as "Outlander,""Power" and the upcoming "American Gods," and movies suchas "Avengers: Age of Ultron," the company April 5. The digital retail serviceallows for up to four users to watch simultaneously and virtually unlimiteddownloads. Starz subscribers from cable, satellite and telco partners can alsoauthenticate and can access Starz programming via the new app. Users canpurchase a subscription or authenticate Starz directly in-app or on theirPC/Mac. Further, subscribers to the Starz sister networks, Starz Encore andMovieplex, can access the app to stream and download content.

* WorldWrestling Entertainment Inc.'s digital subscription service,WWE Network, climbedto 1.82 million subscribers following the company's WrestleMania April 3 event.The record figure marks a 39% year-over-year increase compared to the number ofsubscribers from March 30, 2015, the day after 2015's WrestleMania, the companysaid April 4. Thenumber of domestic subscribers increased to 1.39 million and internationalsubscribers jumped to 434,000, marking a 24% and 126% year-over-year increase,respectively. Paid subscribers jumped to 1.11 million domestically andincreased to 345,000 internationally. The number of video views jumped to 65million across the social media spectrum, and marked an 87% year-over-yearincrease.

* Netflix securedglobal subscription video-on-demand rights to 's crime drama series "Marcella,"TBI Vision reportedApril 4. The streaming platform bought the rights via an agreement withU.K.-based Cineflix Rights, the distribution arm of Cineflix Media thatco-produced the show with production company Buccaneer Media. Netflix will makethe entire series available worldwide from July 1. "Marcella" followsthe story of a troubled detective who is investigating a serial killer. Thecrime drama will premiere on ITV's flagship channel on April 4, according tothe report.