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The week in OTT: Israeli TV service adds Netflix; Amazon bolsters lineup

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

* Israeli communications operator Partner Communications Co. Ltd. struck a deal with Netflix Inc. to offer the streaming service on Partner's upcoming television service in Israel. Netflix will be available on Partner's set-top boxes, the company said May 29.

* Netflix on May 29 offered details about its first original series to be produced in Turkey, which is expected to launch globally in 2018. O3 Medya will produce the yet-to-be-named 10-episode action drama series, telling the story of a young man who discovers he has special powers and uses them to defend Istanbul from dark forces.

* Hulu LLC acquired the streaming rights to Starz (US) drama "Power" from Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. The first two seasons of the show are now available for streaming to Hulu subscribers, with season three to become available later in 2017, the company said May 25. Future seasons of the drama will also be available to Hulu users.

* Amazon.com Inc. struck an exclusive two-year first-look deal with Steven Soderbergh's Fingerprint Releasing for its theatrical movie projects. Through the agreement, Amazon will provide strategic print and advertising financing to market Fingerprint's theatrical releases, the company said May 25. Amazon will release Soderbergh's newest film, "Logan Lucky," on Prime Video during the first quarter of 2018. The movie is set for release in theaters Aug. 18.

* Facebook Inc. teamed up with various millennial-focused content creators such as BuzzFeed, ATTN, Vox Media and Group Nine Media for its soon-to-be-launched video service, Reuters reported May 24, citing several sources with knowledge of the matter. The ad-supported video service will reportedly feature scripted shows, as well as shorter scripted and unscripted shows.

In other platform news

* Netflix Inc. will premiere a new stand-up special featuring Ellen DeGeneres, marking her return to stand-up comedy, the company said May 24. Other details about the special were not disclosed.

* The fifth season of Netflix's political drama series "House of Cards" is now available to Netflix members worldwide.

* Netflix released viewer watching data, revealing that audiences across the globe "start and end their day with a laugh." After reviewing six months of Netflix streaming data, accounting to about 77 million accounts per month in various parts of the world, the streamer found that subscribers prefer to watch comedy first thing in the morning and just as they are falling asleep, the company said May 23.

* Amazon inked carriage deals with ITV Plc, Discovery Communications Inc.'s Discovery Networks U.K. and Comcast Corp.'s NBCUniversal Media LLC to provide content for Amazon Channels in the U.K., The Hollywood Reporter reported May 23. Each service will cost between £1.49 and £9.99 and will be accessible to Amazon Prime members who pay £79 annually.

* Netflix launched a localized Romanian interface for users. The interface offers Romanian subtitles and dubbing for programming on Netflix, including original content, the company said May 22.

* Netflix acquired rights to a movie project starring Rihanna with Oscar winner Lupita Nyong'o, Entertainment Weekly reported May 22, citing sources familiar with the details. The streaming giant reportedly outbid other bidders for the movie.

* Poker Central launched a new subscription streaming service, PokerGO, which will feature both live and on-demand original programming about the card game and its most famous players. The service, which costs $99 annually or $10 a month, will carry live poker tournaments and other games from around the world, including the "Super High Roller Bowl" and the "World Series of Poker," which both kick off this summer. Poker Central plans to expand the service's live poker offering with weekly high stakes cash games and premier poker events.