Streaming Service Topic Pacts With Deepdub To Make Foreign-Language Shows Available In English

Two-year-old streaming service Topic has set a deal with tech firm Deepdub to make its catalog of foreign-language series and TV shows available in English.

The pioneering effort will span dozens of titles, including noted shows like Arctic CirclePagan Peak, The Bridge, The Killing. As streaming continues to expand overall, appetites are growing for global content, but dubbing and subtitling can both be a challenge in terms of cost and execution.

Israel-based Deepdub, which launched in 2019, sees its technology as the answer. It uses artificial intelligence to create what it deems fully “localized” entertainment, playable in a viewer’s native language depending on where programming is streaming. Crucially, other sound is preserved in the process, including the actors’ original voices. Kevin Reilly, who helped launch HBO Max and has headed entertainment for Fox and NBC, joined Deepdub’s advisory board last January. He told Deadline he hoped the company’s technology would be “disruptive” to the industry, but “in a healthy way.”

Netflix’s success with Squid Game has become a symbol of its effort to cross-pollinate streaming content, and other companies are following a similar path. Topic, which is owned by First Look Entertainment, has focused on showcasing foreign-language titles to its North American subscribers. It sees adding an English-language option as a way of broadening the service’s appeal.

“We couldn’t be more excited to team up with Deepdub to utilize their groundbreaking platform, which will allow us to bring our critically-acclaimed foreign language series to an even wider audience. Topic’s goal has always been to ensure our subscribers have an intensely curated and authentic experience when viewing our global programming,” Topic GM Ryan Chanatry said. “Deepdub lets us closely honor the emotion and tone of the original performances while offering an alternative for when watching with subtitles may not be possible.”

Freja Johanne Nørgaard Sørensen, DR Sales Executive, said the initiative will expand the potential viewership of the company’s Scandinavian series, among them The Killing, Follow the Money and State of Happiness. “The collaboration with Deepdub will insure the integrity of our shows as well as the actors voices, tonality and emotions,” she said.

Yi Qiao, director of drama for Bridge production entity ZDF Enterprises, brokered the distribution agreement with Topic. “We are thrilled that ‘The Bridge’ was among the first shows chosen for this innovative localization project,” she said. “We are confident that with this, the award-winning drama series will now reach an even wider and larger international audience.”

Deepdub co-founder and CEO Ofir Krakowski called the Topic partnership is a “big step” toward the company’s ultimate goal. “We believe that all people, no matter their language or geography, should have access to incredible watching experiences at their fingertips,” he said.

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