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The Week in OTT: CBS All Access adds kids shows; Netflix mulls more data release

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.

Top News

* YouTube LLC's YouTube Originals signed up former first lady Michelle Obama for a special called "Creators for Change," reported Dec. 9. The show, which will focus on educating girls in Vietnam, is set to premiere in March 2020 on YouTube.

* Netflix Inc.'s head of original films, Scott Stuber, said the streaming platform is working to make audience metrics for its films more transparent, Variety reported Dec. 5. Speaking at an event, Stuber said the company is "building towards" releasing more viewership data because it recognizes the importance of such information to the creative community and to the press.

In other platform news

* Plex rolled out its ad-supported video-on-demand service, which will be available across Plex-enabled devices, according to a Dec. 4 official blog post. The streaming service offers free access to movies, TV shows, extreme sports films, music documentaries and Bollywood musicals.

* Discovery Inc. plans to follow the recipe it used to open its Food Network Kitchen when it launches a new network tied to celebrity couple Chip and Joanna Gaines next fall. The company's executive Peter Faricy said the direct-to-consumer offering centered on the Magnolia brand could include both free ad-supported and membership levels of content, as well as an e-commerce offering.

* Actor, comedian and writer Ali Wong penned a deal with Netflix to bring her next two stand-up comedy specials to the streaming platform, according to a Dec. 3 news release. The first of the two shows will air on Netflix globally in 2020.

* Partnerships with pay TV companies, such as Sky Ltd and Canal Plus SA, helped Netflix gain theoretical access to more than 300 million pay TV households worldwide, The Hollywood Reporter reported Dec. 2, citing a report by research and analytics firm Ampere Analysis.

* AT&T Inc.'s upcoming streaming service, HBO Max, inked a deal with All3media International Ltd for U.S. streaming rights to British crime drama "White House Farm," reported Nov. 29. HBO Max will air the six-part series in 2020.

* CBS Corp.'s streaming service, CBS All Access, launched a kids programming lineup that includes original shows and other library content, reported Nov. 25. The streamer will include the first Nickelodeon (US) titles in January 2020.

* Netflix signed a lease agreement to keep New York's The Paris Theatre open. The streaming company plans to use the venue for special events, screenings and theatrical releases of its films, according to a Nov. 25 news release.

* BeIN Media Group LLC is aiming to bolster its linear TV brand and expand overall viewers with the recent launch of an ad-supported streaming service in the U.S. The beIN SPORTS XTRA service reached a deal with Viacom Inc.'s Pluto TV platform and is nearing agreements with other digital carriers, according to the sports programmer's head of North American distribution.

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