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The week in OTT: Netflix backs Adam Sandler films; Tech giants bid for NFL games

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

* Netflix Inc. agreed to fund four more feature length films starring Adam Sandler. The comedian's Happy Madison Productions will produce each film, which will premiere exclusively on Netflix, the company said March 24.

* Facebook Inc., Amazon.com Inc., Twitter Inc. and Google Inc.'s YouTube are vying for rights to stream the National Football League's "Thursday Night Football" games next season, Recode reported March 23, citing two people with knowledge of the matter. The companies have reportedly submitted proposals to the NFL.

In other platform news

* Amazon Studios is close to ordering pilots for three single-camera comedy projects, "Love You More," "Sea Oak" and "The Climb," Deadline.com reported March 23. The current pilot season at Amazon includes three half-hour comedy pilots "The Legend of Master Legend," "Budding Prospects" and "The New V.I.P.'s."

* Time Warner Inc.'s Warner Bros. struck a licensing agreement with Chinese video streaming giant iQiyi, The Hollywood Reporter reported March 21. The deal gives iQiyi streaming rights to about 200 films, which include the "Harry Potter" franchise and the "Lord of the Rings trilogy," as well as titles such as "Gravity," "Godzilla" and "The Great Gatsby."

* AT&T Inc. is luring new DIRECTV Now customers with a free year of access to HBO (US). The offer will apply to customers who signed up for DIRECTV Now's "Go Big" or "Gotta Have It" packages, AT&T said March 20. New customers will also be able to get an Apple TV for subscribing to three months of prepaid service on any DIRECTV Now package. The two offers will last until March 30.

* Comcast Corp.'s Xfinity TV customers will be able to access Netflix as part of the company's fifth annual Xfinity Watchathon Week, starting April 3. More than 50 networks will participate in the binge watching event, the company said March 20.