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TCLtv+ Studios sends Message in a Bot with its first sci-fi short created using AI

Message in a Bot debuted on YouTube and X

TCLtv+, the ad-supported streaming platform owned by China-based consumer electronics company TCL, is expanding further into artificial intelligence (AI)-generated content with the launch of sci-fi short Message in a Bot.

The project, produced under the TCLtv+ Studios banner, debuted on Monday on YouTube and X and will premiere on TCLtv+ on July 22.

The company said the script was developed as a research project designed to “pressure test” new tech advancements in AI. However, when one of the TCLtv+ animators, Erik Howell, came across the project he wanted to bring it to life. The film was subsequently fast-tracked and brought to life with the help of a team of VFX professionals.

Message in a Bot explores what happens when an alien craft crash lands on earth containing advanced technology and instructions. Humans then build and launch a spacecraft capable of interstellar travel in an attempt to make contact.

Howell, Chris Regina, TCL’s chief content officer in North America, and chief creative officer Daniel Smith are executive producers of the short.

TCL revealed in April that it was moving into original content with the formation of an AI-focused production studio. The company is working to set itself apart from other streamers and original equipment manufacturers with its openness to experiment with and lean into the use of AI tools.

Regina, the former director of original drama series development at Netflix, recently talked with C21 about how TCLtv+ is looking to build up not only a slate of AI-focused projects but also titles that are created more traditionally.

The first AI-powered project announced by TCL was Next Stop Paris, which will debut this summer on TCL.

“We are energised by the resourcefulness and ingenuity of artists working in AI who can quickly bring their imagination to life,” said Regina. “By leaning into rapidly evolving AI tools, the timeline from idea to release is shorter than ever before. It’s an exhilarating process that allows for extraordinary freedom and creativity.”

Haohong Wang, general manager of TCL Research America, added: “With our bullish approach to AI in all its applications, TCL is surpassing the legacy business practices of film and television, reinforcing innovation that drives growth across every aspect of our business.”

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