TV Marketing Campaign Recreates Louis XIV's Voice

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When France's Canal+ was set to start season three of the Versailles TV series, it launched an unusual marketing campaign that involved recreating the voice of King Louis XIV and allowing the public to converse with him.

To do this, the broadcaster used voice synthesis technology in a conversational agent—a voicebot.

To create the voice, the broadcaster brought in synthetic speech experts from Voxygen, a French voice solutions provider, as well as a phoniatrist (a physician who specializes in treating the organs involved in speech production, mainly the mouth, throat, vocal cords), a historian from the Palace of Versailles, and many other experts on the life and times of the Sun King.

The Louis XIV voicebot used machine learning to answer questions posed during radio and TV interviews conducted before each show. The king was even active on Twitter. To make the voice more visible on screen, Louis XIV was symbolically represented by an image of the sun that moved in real time to show the frequency of the voice.

Today, the voice of Louis XIV is a product in its own right. Currently, the Palace of Versailles uses the voice in its exhibitions around the world to guide the public. Other applications, including audio guides, to accompany private visits to the Palace or prestige events held there, or even make the Sun King a recurring guest on Canal+ programs, are being considered.

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