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Disney+ UK partnerships; Starzplay Arabic original; Sky-Channel 5 deal

In this monthly feature, S&P Global Market Intelligence provides a roundup of news related to over-the-top, video-on-demand and other online video initiatives in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.


* Walt Disney Co. could agree to multiple partnerships with pay TV and mobile operators in the U.K. to drive subscriptions to its Disney+ streaming service. The company is reportedly in talks with British Telecom as it prepares for the European launch of its streaming service in March. Recently, Disney removed more than half of its TV box sets from Sky Ltd.'s streaming service ahead of the expected launch, London's The Guardian reported Dec. 26.

* Starz's subscription video-on-demand Starzplay will create an original series in partnership with entertainment company Image Nation Abu Dhabi, according to a Dec. 10 news release. Production will begin this year and the Arabic-language content is expected to be released towards the end of the year.

* British pay TV company Sky on Dec. 7 said it struck a deal to add content from ViacomCBS Inc.-owned broadcaster Channel 5 (UK) to its Sky Box sets and the Entertainment Pass for its on-demand streaming service NOW TV.


* ESPN (US) acquired rights to stream National Hockey League matches for its ESPN Player service across Europe and Africa, including Belgium, Italy, Spain, South Africa and Greece, Digital TV Europe reported Dec. 11. The deal will bring three live games per week during the regular season, together with on-demand access.

* Sports streaming service DAZN secured rights to stream Spain's Copa del Rey football games in Spain, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Japan, Advanced Television reported Dec. 5. The three-year deal covers the upcoming seasons from 2019-2020 to 2021-2022.


* BritBox, a joint subscription video-on-demand venture between the British Broadcasting Corp. and ITV PLC, added 627 pieces of "Doctor Who Classic" content on its platform. The collection of episodes includes spinoffs, documentaries and telesnaps.

* Freeview Uk Ltd.'s video-on-demand platform, Freeview Play, ended 2019 with nearly 7 million users, the company said Dec. 23.

* Swedish TV company TV4 AB is shutting down C More Entertainment AB's streaming service for customers of Com Hem AB, Dagens Nyheter reported Dec. 17. Com Hem stopped transmitting TV4's channels after Com Hem owner Tele2 AB and TV4's new owner Telia Co. AB failed to reach a new distribution agreement.

* Netflix Inc. began filming Danish supernatural thriller "Equinox," the company announced Dec. 18. The six-part original series, created by Tea Lindeburg, is produced by Dorthe Riis Lauridsen and executive produced by Piv Bernth and Apple Tree Productions.

* Canal Plus Group SA will exclusively distribute Disney+ in France, allowing the premium TV channel to distribute Disney content as an add-on bundle package, Les Échos reported Dec. 15. The streaming service will be launched in France on March 31.

* Netflix greenlit a new scripted series about Swedish music streaming company Spotify AB, according to a Dec. 11 news release. The limited series, inspired by the book "Spotify Untold" by authors Sven Carlsson and Jonas Leijonhufvud, will take a look at how Spotify became one of the world's leading music services.

* German media company Pantaflix AG said Dec. 5 that it struck a content deal with Sony Corp. unit Sony Pictures Entertainment Deutschland Gmbh for its streaming platform.

* European over-the-top platform NetTv Plus d.o.o. and DAZN announced a partnership, Infosat reported Dec. 2. Subscribers in Germany, Austria and Switzerland will be able to view sports content by DAZN via NetTV Plus.


* Greek operator Cosmote SA rolled out an over-the-top service that allows simultaneous viewing on up to two devices, Telecompaper reported Dec. 13. The service is accessible on TVs and mobile phones.

* Telecom Italia SpA said Dec. 9 that it struck an agreement to add content from sports streaming service DAZN to its offer. The deal allows subscribers of the telco's TIMVISION platform to watch matches from national and global soccer events, among others.


* Qatar-headquartered beIN Media Group LLC is expanding distribution for its ad-supported streaming service in the U.S., reaching a deal with HC2 Holdings Inc. for carriage in 15 markets. The ad-supported, video-on-demand service is slated to roll out to Pluto TV in early 2020.

* Netflix on Dec. 23 said it will debut comedian Abla Fahita in its second Egyptian original series, which is slated to be released in 2020. The show will be produced by OKWRD production company with ASAP Productions and EP Amin El Masri.

* Cell C (Pty) Ltd. closed down its streaming service Black last Dec. 31, Business Tech reported Nov. 29. In exchange for the move, Cell C provided its users with a voucher code for three months of free access to VOD platform Showmax.

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