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.
* Google LLC's YouTube LLC has dropped plans to produce its own Hollywood-quality scripted shows due to high production costs, Bloomberg News reported, citing sources. The video-sharing platform has reportedly stopped accepting pitches for expensive content, with some programs getting the axe.
* Sports streaming service DAZN raised its monthly rate in the U.S. by $10 and unveiled a $99.99 annual pass. DAZN now costs $19.99 a month, up from $9.99 a month, Joseph Markowski, DAZN executive vice president of North America, said in a post. The streaming service offers more than 100 fight nights per year featuring various combat sports.
In other platform news
* Comcast Corp. will launch a new streaming service dubbed new Xfinity Flex for internet-only customers across the U.S. starting the week of March 25. The service, which costs $5 per month, includes more than 10,000 free online movies and TV shows — including livestreaming TV — from ESPN3, Xumo LLC, Pluto Inc., Tubi TV, Cheddar, YouTube and more. It will also allow users to browse and access programming across apps such as Netflix Inc., Amazon.com Inc.'s Prime, HBO (US) and Showtime (US).
* In more Netflix news, the streaming giant has green-lighted a comedy series from Mindy Kaling. Inspired by Kaling's own childhood, the 10-episode series is about the complicated life of a modern-day, first-generation Indian-American teenage girl, the company said March 20.
* T-Mobile US Inc. extended its wireless sponsorship agreement with Major League Baseball for another four years. As part of the multiyear partnership, the carrier is offering one year of free subscription of MLB.TV and the MLB At Bat app's premium features, according to a March 19 news release. Customers can claim their free MLB.TV subscription in the T-Mobile Tuesdays app, starting March 26 until April 1 at 11:59 p.m. ET.
* Netflix picked up "The Queen's Gambit," a limited series based on a novel of the same name from Walter Tevis. The series follows Beth Harmon, an orphan chess prodigy, who struggles with addiction in a quest to become the greatest chess player in the world, the company said March 19.
* Netflix green-lighted "Battle Kitty," an original animated interactive series. The series allows kids to join Kitty on a quest to defeat all the monsters on Battle Island and be crowned a champion, according to a March 19 news release.
* Netflix will stream the live-action interactive series "You vs. Wild" on April 10, Broadcasting & Cable reported March 18, citing a company statement. In the eight-episode show, Bear Grylls will embark on "exciting adventures all over the world."