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The week in OTT: AT&T gearing up for DIRECTV NOW launch; Facebook, Twitter ink deals for election debate coverage

Southeast Asian broadband providers report varying performance amid COVID-19

Cable networks react to pandemic by cutting SG&A, programming costs

Strong Competition Remains For Thailand Digital Terrestrial TV Channel

ITU: Regulators discuss impacts of COVID-19 on policymaking


The week in OTT: AT&T gearing up for DIRECTV NOW launch; Facebook, Twitter ink deals for election debate coverage

The week inover-the-top provides a recap of recent news related to OTT initiatives fromvarious networks and platforms.

* AT&T Inc. secured continued distribution of channels for DIRECTV and AT&T U-verse customers. The multiyear,multiplatform agreement also includes digital rights for the DIRECTV NOW andDIRECTV Freeview streaming services when they launch later in 2016, the companysaid Sept. 22.

* Walt Disney Co.'s ABC News with for live coverage of the2016 general election debates. Pursuant to the agreement, each debate day willfeature live streams of ABC News' curated Facebook feed from around the debatehost cities, inside the spin room and from watch parties across the U.S. Thecoverage will also feature commentary from anchors and correspondents at ABCNews headquarters in New York, according to a Sept. 20 .

In other platformnews…

* AT&T is readying the launch of its planned over-the-topstreaming video service DIRECTV NOW in the fourth quarter with "100-pluschannels at a very, very aggressive price point," CEO Randall Stephensonsaid at a Sept. 21event. That price will cover data for streaming on mobile devices, he added. TheCEO said AT&T has signed contracts for the majority of the content it plansto offer on DIRECTV NOW and is now working on ensuring the platform itself isready for launch.

* In more election coverage news, an exclusive deal with BloombergMedia to stream BloombergTelevision (US)'s live broadcast of the 2016 U.S. presidential andvice presidential debates starting Sept. 26. The streaming will include specialBloomberg Politics programming half an hour before and after each debate,according to a Sept. 21 newsrelease.

* Verizon Communications Inc.'s go90 streaming servicegreenlit apolitically themed scripted series, called "Embeds," The Hollywood Reporter reportedSept. 20. The series, which will be executive produced by Megyn Kelly, theanchor of "The Kelly File" on 21st Century Fox Inc.'s FOX News Channel (US), will feature six episodesand will premiere this fall. 

* ESPN (US)'s WatchESPN app is now on 's PlayStation 4 console,according to a Sept. 20 poston the ESPNMediaZone website. The WatchESPN app will also become available onthe PlayStation 3 at a later date. 

* AT&T inked a new multiyear, multiplatform carriage agreementwith Time WarnerInc.'s TurnerBroadcasting System Inc. for its portfolio of networks, accordingto a Sept. 20 newsrelease. The expanded agreement covers the TV Everywhere anddigital rights for AT&T's upcoming streaming services DIRECTV NOW andDIRECTV Freeview, in addition to carriage of the networks on AT&T U-verseand the DIRECTV platform, the company said.

* NetflixInc. expanded its Polish service by including more contentsubtitled or dubbed in Polish. Hollywood movies, TV shows, Polish titles,documentaries, independent films, stand-up comedy and kids' titles are nowavailable to watch instantly on Netflix with more than 80% of the contentdubbed or subtitled in Polish, the streaming giant said in a Sept. 20news release.Netflix also struck an agreement with T-Mobile US Inc.'s Polish arm to allow members to payfor subscription through their T-Mobile account.

* Comcast Corp. will start the Netflix Beta Program onits X1 platform as part of a partnership with Netflix. According to a Sept. 19official blog post,X1 and Netflix customers will be able to watch live, on-demand, DVR, andNetflix programming in the beta program. Customers will be able to opt in viathe "Comcast Labs," log in through the Netflix app, or sign-in forNetflix through X1. 

* Netflix is set to produce its first original Indian comedy special, thePress Trust of India reportedSept. 19. The streaming service is partnering with Indian comedian Vir Das forthe Netflix Original Comedy Specials series. His stand-up performance willreportedly be filmed soon in New Delhi for streaming on Netflix in more than100 countries. 

* In more Netflix news, the streaming giant worldwide rights toAdam Leon's romance-heist film "Tramps" for about $2 million, The Hollywood Reporter reportedSept. 19. The movie is about a petty felon and his driver who have to correct adrop-off job that they botched.