July 18, 2024
Adobe reportedly acquires text-to-video AI platform Rephrase


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As the five-day-long power struggle at OpenAI comes to an end with Sam Altman’s reinstatement, Adobe is moving to up its generative AI game. According to a report in the Economic Times, the content software major has circulated an internal memo announcing the acquisition of California-headquartered text-to-video company Rephrase.

While the cost of the deal remains undisclosed, the move is expected to bolster Adobe’s suite of Creative Cloud products, which have gradually been getting gen AI upgrades over the past year. In particular, Rephrase will help the company empower its customers with the ability to generate professional-grade videos with just text.

Rephrase’s CEO Ashray Malhotra announced the deal through a post on LinkedIn but only noted that the company has been acquired by a “leading tech giant” rather than mentioning the name of Adobe. When asked for comment, he said he’s not authorized to share more at this stage.

What does Rephrase bring to the table?

Founded in 2019 by Malhotra, Nisheeth Lahoti and Shivam Mangla, Rephrase provides enterprises with a platform (called Rephrase Studio) where users can create professional-looking videos with a digital avatar in minutes. All the user has to do is choose a video template, an avatar of choice with the preferred voice and add the content they need to deliver. 

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Once a user hits the render button on Rephrase, the studio automatically pulls together all the elements, syncing the script with the avatar. They can make their content more natural with additional customization options, including the ability to resize the avatar, change the background, increase pauses between words or add custom audio. 

Over the last four years, the company roped in more than 50,000 customers and raised nearly $14 million from multiple investors, including Red Ventures and Lightspeed India. After making its start, the company’s unique selling point was the ability to help enterprises and influencers create custom avatars to deliver personalized business videos, like those featuring their brand ambassadors or themselves. 

Now, with the acquisition, these product capabilities and a majority of the Rephrase team will go to Adobe, building the company’s offerings for generative AI videos.

“The Rephrase.ai team’s expertise in generative AI video and audio technology and experience-building text-to-video generator tools will extend our generative video capabilities — and enable us to deliver more value to our customers faster – all within our industry-leading creative applications,” Ashley Still, senior vice president and general manager for Adobe Creative Cloud, wrote in the internal memo cited.

When contacted by VentureBeat, an Adobe spokesperson refused to comment on the development or how Rephrase’s tooling will complement its product stack.

“Adobe has a strong track record of accelerating growth through both organic and inorganic innovation. We are always on the lookout for new talent and technology that supports our strategy and creates more value for our stakeholders,” the spokesperson said.

Adobe has been bullish on AI

Over the last few months, Adobe has been pushing the bar on generative AI with multiple product updates. First, it launched Firefly, an AI engine for image generation, and integrated it across Creative Cloud products like Photoshop, allowing users to add or remove objects from images by simply describing the changes in words. 

Then, last month at its annual Max conference, the company showcased multiple experimental generative AI-powered video smarts, including the ability to upscale videos, change their textures and objects with text prompts or composite a subject and a scene from two separate videos. It is not clear when or if these features will make it to a future release but Rephrase’s digital avatar-based capabilities certainly make a good candidate that could tag along.

“These are early days for Generative AI, and early days for everything that we plan to build in Generative AI. Never been more excited to get back to building. We are excited to announce the launch of our new project,” Malhotra noted in his post.

For audio and video-related work, Adobe Creative Cloud, which has been the dominant platform for digital art and media for decades, currently offers six main products: Premiere Pro, After Effects, Audition, Character Animator, Animate and Media Encoder. 

It is used by millions of professionals and amateurs alike to create, edit and share digital content and has also been the source of countless memes, parodies and viral art that have shaped online communities and trends.

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