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The week in OTT: Netflix bolsters content; Crown Media to debut SVOD service

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The week in OTT: Netflix bolsters content; Crown Media to debut SVOD service

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

* Netflix Inc. commissioned its first Chinese-language original series "Bardo," a supernatural thriller from Taiwan about a man attempting to break out of prison. The eight-episode series, which will be produced in partnership with Singapore-based production company IFA Media, will be made available for streaming globally, the company said Aug. 4. Netflix also announced two Indian originals — "Selection Day," a cricket and corruption drama based on the book by Aravind Adiga, and "Again," a supernatural detective series written by Marisha Mukerjee of "Quantico." Additionally, the streaming service expanded its Japanese anime lineup with new series and a Godzilla animated film.

* Crown Media Family Networks on Oct. 3 will debut Hallmark Movies Now, a subscription video-on-demand service that will retail at $5.99 a month and $59.95 annually, offering up to 1,000 hours of programming not available on the three linear channels. Positioned as a hybrid service, Hallmark Movies Now will be available for both traditional video distributors and for non-pay TV subscribers.

In other platform news

* Vodafone Group Plc unit Vodafone India partnered with Discovery Communications Inc. to add 12 Discovery HD and standard definition channels on its streaming platform Vodafone Play, the company said Aug. 3. The channels to be added are Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, Discovery HD World, Discovery Science, Discovery Turbo, Discovery Kids, Investigation Discovery, Animal Planet HD World, TLC HD World, Discovery Tamil and sports channel DSPORT.

* CBS Corp.-owned streaming news service CBSN launched Aug. 3 on CBS' subscription video on-demand and live streaming service CBS All Access. The service will launch on additional CBS All Access platforms in the fall, including connected TV platforms and mobile devices, the company said Aug. 1. CBSN will also launch on sports-first streaming service fuboTV at a later stage.

* Amazon.com Inc.'s Amazon Fire now carries Cinedigm Corp.'s digital streaming subscription platform, Dove Channel, the company said Aug. 1. Dove Channel's subscription-based offering costs $4.99 per month.

* Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. and Hemisphere Media Group Inc. launched their planned Spanish-language over-the-top service, PANTAYA, aimed at the Hispanic community. PANTAYA is available for $5.99 per month and offers various Spanish-language blockbusters and critically acclaimed movies from Hollywood and Latin America, most of them exclusive to PANTAYA, the company said in an Aug. 1 SEC filing.