With AI tech, Microsoft bots to dub Bollywood movies for Eros Now

Varun Aggarwal Mumbai | Updated on September 20, 2019

Eros Now is working with Microsoft to use the technology giant’s artificial intelligence speech translation engine to dub Bollywood movies in 10 Indian languages as well as five global ones.

It hopes the move will allow it a larger reach globally ahead of the launch of Eros Now on Apple TV Plus.

With its library of over 12,000 Indian films, Eros Now is trying to foray into new niche markets rapidly with dubbed content but instead of spending months dubbing its library to each individual language, it is adopting Microsoft Azure platform to do it instantly. This will open a new wave of monetisation opportunities for Eros Now with increasing competition in in Indian OTT space.

“Our partnership with Microsoft will help us tap into the micro niche parts of the world and a create new wave of monetisation. In countries such as Russia, which has a strong relationship will Bollywood, enabling the content in local language opens up huge opportunity for monetization,” Rishika Lulla Singh, CEO, Eros Digital, told BusinessLine.

Currently, the entire dubbing process happens manually for Eros Now, which can take weeks for dubbing just one movie in one single language. “We are converting a two week dubbing process that takes millions of dollars into zero cost and on the fly,” Lulla said.

Lulla said that initially, the automated dubbed content will be available in 10 Indian languages. Then we will launch it in Arabic, Bahasa, Malay, we also want to experiment with Chinese. There’ll be five international languages. The dubbing however will take place in phases as the company tests out the accuracy of automated dubbing and tune in with Microsoft.

“What we’re working towards jointly with Microsoft is automate it using intelligent cloud to ensure we take a Hindi script, translate it into Bahasa and deliver it to the customer,” said Lulla.

According to Lulla, while the platform is already in 135 countries, the automated dubbing will allow them to enter newer markets much faster.

“Looking at monetization when we’re opening up a market where Shahrukh Khan speaks in Bahasa delivers a product like RaOne in Bahasa on the same day the film is released on Eros Now. This has never happened before. Since the product is dynamic, we will potentially launch it with some of the newest and relevant (shows or movies),” she said.

The live dubbing isn’t a new technology . But, Eros Now could become the first media company in the world to use it to dub full movies.

Anand Maheshwari, President, Microsoft India, said: “If you look at the capability that we provide with Microsoft 365 wherein when you’re talking on Teams on video call, you can have live translation. The capability to translate exists but it has not been applied in the context of media. There’s a lot of media houses across the world that are working on automated dubbing, some are moving faster and I’m glad Eros Now is.”

As competition in the OTT space heats up with over 40 players including cash rich international players such as Netflix and Amazon Prime, Eros Now is looking at going global through partnerships and distribution deals, one of the biggest being with Apple TV Plus, Apple’s upcoming video streaming service that’ll be available for $5 a month in US and Rs 99 a month in India.

“We are proud to partner with Apple and being the only non-US service to actually partner and being launched on the service. I think it’s a tremendous advantage for us to grow our base, ensure that we can reach and touch consumers where we may not have even reached them before. In combination of a great scale of distribution, the fact that we can now localize makes it an even more exciting game for us,” Lulla said.

Published on September 20, 2019

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