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The Week in OTT: AT&T TV Now price hike; Fox Sports-Facebook Watch content deal

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

* AT&T Inc. is raising the prices of its online television service, AT&T TV Now, Bloomberg News reported Oct. 18. The company notified about 1.3 million of its customers about the 30% price hike, which takes effect the next month. Subscribers who were paying $50 a month for the "Plus" package will see prices climb to $65, while those paying $70 for the 65-channel "Max" package will pay $80 a month.

* Walt Disney Co. is shutting down its Disney Family Movies On Demand service days before the launch of its video-on-demand streaming service, Disney+, according to a post on Comcast Corp.'s Xfinity website. As of Oct. 31, Disney Family Movies will no longer be available through Comcast or any other provider. Disney+ is set to launch Nov. 12.

Other platform news

* AmazeVR Inc. penned a deal with Atlas V and Felix & Paul Studios to distribute the content of the two studios on its platform, Variety reported Oct. 18. Under the deal, "Gloomy Eyes," the animated zombie tale narrated by Colin Farrell, will be coming to AmazeVR. Felix & Paul Studios will also bring "Space Explorers," "The People's House," "Through the Ages" and "Strangers," among others, to AmazeVR.

* Fox Sports teamed up with Facebook Inc. to create new, exclusive interactive programs and segments for Facebook Watch viewers. Fox Sports, which represents Fox Corp.'s multiplatform U.S.-based sports assets, is creating a new weekly "Fox Football Sunday" that will stream each Monday morning during the season on Facebook-operated video-on-demand service.

* Netflix Inc. picked up rights to Jeff Smith's international comic book series "Bone." The streaming service is planning to develop an animated kids series that follows the Bone cousins on an adventure, according to an Oct. 16 news release.

* AT&T's upcoming streaming service, HBO Max, ordered a four-part docuseries, "Equal," from executive producers Greg Berlanti and Jim Parsons, TheWrap.com reported Oct. 16. The series will focus on gay rights activist Harry Hay, lesbian civil rights group Daughters of Bilitis, transgender woman Christine Jorgensen, and gay rights and African American rights leader Bayard Rustin.

* AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc.'s AMC Theatres unveiled a digital movie service, called AMC Theatres On Demand, in the U.S. The new service will allow members of its AMC Stubs loyalty program to rent or buy from a library of about 2,000 digital movies at AMCTheatres.com as well as on the AMC Theatres mobile, connected devices and SmartTV apps, according to an Oct. 15 news release.

* Apple Inc.'s Apple TV app is now available on Roku Inc.'s smart TVs and streaming sticks. The app is available via the Roku Channel Store in select countries in Europe, North America and South America, including the U.S., Canada, Mexico, France and the U.K.

* Netflix is cutting its reliance on standup comedy specials as part of a shift toward other comedy formats, according to an Oct. 15 report by Bloomberg News. Netflix released about 30 standup comedy specials so far this year, compared with more than 50 at this point in 2018, according to data analyzed by Bloomberg.

* In more Netflix news, the streaming giant disclosed its lineup of holiday movies and specials, including the Dec. 5. release of the third installment in the popular Christmas Prince saga, "A Christmas Prince: The Royal Baby," Engadget.com reported Oct. 15. Other specials include "Let It Snow," "Klaus" and "The Knight Before Christmas."

* Hulu LLC introduced 4K content on Microsoft Corp.'s Xbox One, allowing the owners of 4K-capable Xbox One models to play "The Handmaid's Tale" and "Castle Rock" as well as certain Hulu originals at full resolution, Engadget.com reported Oct. 14. Hulu also plans to offer 4K support on Amazon.com Inc.'s Fire TV devices and LG Electronics Inc.'s webOS-based TVs sometime in the future.

* Former ABC Studios head Patrick Moran signed an "overall deal" with Amazon.com Inc., Variety reported Oct. 14. Pursuant to the deal, Moran will work with Amazon Studios to develop television series to premiere exclusively on Prime Video.

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