Living And Fashion

Bob Ross, Elvis And A Focus On Dead Celebrities Gives New Life To Cinedigm

Bob Ross, the decisively chill artist whose show The Joy of Painting made him an 80s-era icon for the PBS faithful, is seeing renewed fame more than 25 years after his death.

Ross’ gentle manner and an expressive love of natural beauty was at the core of appeal, as he walked his audience through his process of transforming blotches of paint on a canvas into intricate landscapes dotted with what he described as “happy” clouds and trees.

On air for 31 seasons, Ross has found revival in a new age, with his show now carried by Amazon Prime Video and Disney’s Hulu, even as his social media presence has mushroomed on YouTube and Twitch. Now thanks to a Cinedigm, a company with its roots in digital cinema that has since pivoted to distributing online content, Ross will soon stand shoulder to shoulder with that most iconic of Dead Celebrities, Elvis Presley

“People love Bob Ross,” said Erick Opeka, chief strategy officer of Cinedigm, which negotiated the exclusive rights to distribute The Bob Ross Channel online. “He’s an icon of just chill contemplation and he was the right guy at the right moment.”

The Bob Ross Channel that Cinedigm created a year ago and distributes now attracts some 6 million monthly viewers across 20 different platforms, including Samsung TVs and Roku devices and ad-supported services like NBCUniversal’s Peacock, ViacomCBS’ Pluto TV and Fox’s Tubi. In January, the company will add an Elvis Channel in partnership with Authentic Brands Group, the New York-based firm that owns Elvis Presley Enterprises. The partners hope the channel, which aims to debut a few months ahead of a major film release about the King by director Baz Luhrmann.

“Can you think of a bigger brand or icon than Elvis on a global basis, that has rabid fans across all demographics across all territories, young, old, who can’t get enough of him?” said Cinedigm CEO Chris McGurk. “To our mind it’s just sort of a natural extension of our strategy. It’s not a genre. It’s not a sports team. It’s a celebrity icon with millions of rabid fans.”


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