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The week in OTT: Apple orders 3rd original series; Netflix adding more content

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The week in OTT: Apple orders 3rd original series; Netflix adding more content

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.

* Apple Inc. ordered a new space drama from "Battlestar Galactica" developer Ronald Moore, which will be produced through his Tall Ship Productions and Sony Corp.'s Sony Pictures Television, Deadline reported Dec. 15. The untitled series is created and written by Moore, along with Matt Wolpert and Ben Nedivi, and explores what would have happened if the global space race had never ended. It is Apple's third original scripted series through its worldwide video programming unit.

* Netflix Inc. will premiere the third and final season of original series "Love" on March 9, 2018. The series was created by Judd Apatow, Paul Rust and Lesley Arfin and produced with Legendary, the company said Dec. 15.

* Discovery Communications Inc. will introduce four new digital channels in India in 2018, Press Trust of India reported Dec. 14. In partnership with Vodafone India's Vodafone Play, Google Inc.'s YouTube, Facebook Inc. and Reliance Jio, Discovery's mobile-first channels will feature content on four areas — military, female activism, auto and food. Discovery will roll out its military platform Veer and female infotainment platform Rise in the first quarter of 2018, which will have about 1,000 videos and more than 100 hours of original content.

* Netflix is eyeing tie-ups with Indian cable TV operators to expand its reach in India, The Economic Times (India) reported Dec. 14, citing Nigel Baptiste, director, partner engagement at Netflix. Baptiste said that Netflix is "actively engaged with cable operator partners in India to get Netflix included in set-top boxes" across millions of homes in the country. Netflix is also in talks with Asian cable operators in Malaysia and Singapore, he added.

In other platform news

* Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.'s Chinese video streaming service Youku unveiled major licensing agreements with Comcast Corp.'s NBCUniversal Media LLC and Sony Pictures Television. The agreements will give Youku subscribers access to hundreds of film titles from the two U.S. studios for free, which can be streamed through multiple Youku distribution channels, including its flagship online platform, SmartTV solutions and set-top boxes.

* Facebook secured exclusive rights to a live weekly show from World Wrestling Entertainment Inc., "Mixed Match Challenge." The 12-episode series will stream live in the U.S. on Facebook Watch on Tuesday nights beginning Jan. 16, 2018, at 10 p.m. ET. WWE stars from both "Raw" and "Smackdown Live" rosters will compete on the show in a single-elimination mixed tag-team tournament to win $100,000 to support the charity of their choice, WWE said Dec. 13.

* YouTube TV is now available in 34 new markets across the U.S., according to a tweet by the service. Google Inc.-owned YouTube LLC's paid virtual cable bundle is now accessible to a total of 83 markets in the country, according to a Dec. 12 report by TechCrunch.com.

* Netflix launched its streaming service in Greek language and currency and will provide access to exclusive series and films in Ultra HD 4K and HDR. About 70% of the content on Netflix has already been dubbed or subtitled in Greek language, according to the Dec. 12 news release. The service will be free for the first month and will cost €7.99 per month thereafter.

* Netflix unveiled its slate of original documentary shorts for 2018. The company said Dec. 11 that it will stream "Ram Dass, Going Home" April 6, "Ladies First" March 9, "The Trader (Sovdagari)" Feb. 9, and "End Game" on May 4.