AI Technologies Are Being Used to Localize the Bob Ross Channel

Bob Ross Channel
(Image credit: Bob Ross Channel)

LOS ANGELES—Cinedigm has announced that it will be working with artificial intelligence-based startup Papercup to adapt the iconic Bob Ross series “The Joy of Painting” for millions of additional viewers worldwide by dubbing the painting show into Latin American Spanish and other key languages. 

Cinedigm, which is the exclusive distributor of The Bob Ross Channel for OTT platforms, intends to roll out the channel in the US and Latin America followed by other international territories. 

To localize the content, Cinedigm selected AI voice startup Papercup. 

Papercup was able to provide a scalable service to automate time-consuming parts of the dubbing process through the use of machine translation and synthetic speech that has been extensively trained via machine-learning, the companies said. 

This process outputs a fully localized audio language track that utilizes a synthetic voice imperceptible from a human voice. 

The Company plans to dub all 31 seasons of The Joy of Painting content into Latin American Spanish for distribution across the burgeoning Spanish-language streaming market.

Tony Huidor, chief technology and product officer at Cinedigm explained that the “Bob Ross Channel is one of our most successful channels due to its broad appeal and the magic that Bob Ross’ talent and innovation brought to the screen. In partnering with Papercup, we are harnessing an innovative technology partner to extend the reach of The Joy of Painting by utilizing cutting-edge technology to seamlessly dub his voice using artificial intelligence and synthetic speech. As streaming services continue to expand worldwide, this will allow us to reach a previously untapped global audience. This is a pivotal time for the entertainment industry as demand for streaming content adapted for local markets continues to grow. We seek to make the most of our channel portfolio by adapting our content for international markets. Partnering with Papercup will allow us to achieve this goal and scale our business by utilizing their AI technology."

“A project like this is exactly why we built our technology - unlocking hundreds of hours of quality content stuck in a single language with our speech translation system,” added Jesse Shemen, CEO and co-founder at Papercup. “It's validating to see our technology work at such a large scale across multiple languages and enable the introduction of strong branded content to a new global audience.”

A sample of the localization can be viewed here.  

George Winslow

George Winslow is the senior content producer for TV Tech. He has written about the television, media and technology industries for nearly 30 years for such publications as Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and TV Tech. Over the years, he has edited a number of magazines, including Multichannel News International and World Screen, and moderated panels at such major industry events as NAB and MIP TV. He has published two books and dozens of encyclopedia articles on such subjects as the media, New York City history and economics.