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SonyLIV Launches in the Middle East

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SonyLIV, India’s first premium video on demand (VOD) service intensifies its global footprint with its foray into the Middle East. Launched in 2013 as the first mover in the Indian OTT industry, SonyLIV recently crossed the 100MN app downloads milestone on Play store in India and currently caters to over 70 million MAUs (Monthly Active Users). Bringing quality content tailormade for the local audience and South Asian diaspora in the region, over 70 popular shows from Sony Pictures Networks India’s (SPN) rich content library and over 1500 movies are now available on SonyLIV in UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.

From Kapil Sharma’s rib-tickling comedy to some hypnotic dance moves in Super Dancer to the inspiring stories of women empowerment in Ladies Special and Patiala Babes, Sony Pictures Networks India’s most popular shows are now up for viewing on SonyLIV at any time and at the viewers’ convenience. Adding onto this binge fest are popular Bollywood movies from SonyLIV’s vast content library. To ensure that the audience doesn’t miss out on their favourite shows from the Sony Pictures Networks stable, all new episodes will be available with English subtitles.

With over 450 million unique mobile subscribers, the Middle East has one of the highest consumption of YouTube videos in the world. Digital infiltration and high-speed internet have opened the floodgates of premium content from the world over spanning genres and interests. Smartphones have been instrumental in offering cultural understanding and exposure to the legion of local users, 50% of which is under the age of 25 years and 35% under the age of 18 years.

SonyLIV intends to cater to this audience with the most sought after stories and enhanced viewing experience. Over the last six years, the platform has pioneered the Indian digital ecosystem by offering content that is diverse, relatable and most importantly entertaining. With a 7X increase in consumption and 3X rise in subscribers last year, SonyLIV now aims to tap newer audience segments globally.

Uday Sodhi Business Head – Digital Sony Pictures Networks India, said, “With a bustling young population who are essentially digital-first consumers, the Middle East serves as a highly lucrative market for content creators like us to spiral a growth. With the increased adoption of smartphones and advanced services, there is a huge potential for Indian content which is extremely popular and appeals to viewers globally. Building on this opportunity, SonyLIV aims to offer an inclusive viewing experience to the users here with stories that suit their interests, preferences and viewing patterns. We will scale up our content offerings in the months to come and emerge as the most preferred entertainment destination for the local audience.”

Viewers in the Middle East will be treated to an array of fresh content on the platform in the days to come. Operating in SVOD mode in the market at $5.99 for a month, $29.99 for 6 months and $49.99 for a year, viewers can purchase their subscriptions to SonyLIV via credit card, debit card or in-app purchases.

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WhatsApp Now Transcribes Voice Messages on Android

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Calling all Android users who dread lengthy voice messages: rejoice! WhatsApp is rolling out voice message transcription to its beta app.

This feature, already available for iOS users since May 2024, is now part of the WhatsApp Beta version 2.24.15.5 for Android. It automatically converts voice messages into text, making it easier and faster to understand conversations.

Currently, transcriptions are supported in five languages: English, Spanish, Portuguese (Brazil), Russian, and Hindi, with more languages promised in the future. Users opting in will need to download an additional data package to ensure all transcripts are generated directly on their devices, maintaining message privacy.

This update brings Android users closer to iOS users in terms of features and highlights WhatsApp’s commitment to improving the overall user experience.

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WhatsApp Trials AI Image Generator

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Calling all creative minds! WhatsApp is testing a new feature that uses AI to generate personalized avatars. Imagine yourself as a superhero, chilling on a beach, or even exploring space – the possibilities are endless! WABetaInfo discovered this feature in the latest Android beta update.

Here’s the tech behind the magic: a combo of user images, text descriptions, and Meta’s powerful AI, Llama. “Take photos of yourself once, then imagine yourself in any setting from the forest to outer space,” reads the screenshot on WhatsApp. The way it works is in the Meta AI Chat: users can type “Imagine in…” or “@Meta AI imagine me…” as a text prompt. A user’s likeness will then be used to generate the personalized image.

While there’s no official release date yet, this exciting feature is entirely optional. It joins the recently launched in-app custom sticker maker, showcasing WhatsApp’s commitment to fostering creativity within the app. This, alongside their ongoing development of AI chat functionalities, highlights Meta’s focus on making WhatsApp a platform that embraces both technological innovation and user expression.

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YouTube’s New Eraser Tool Now Removes Songs Without Ruining Your Videos

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Good news for creators! YouTube has rolled out a major update to its eraser tool, allowing them to effortlessly remove copyrighted music from their videos without sacrificing other audio elements like dialogue or sound effects.

In a recent video, YouTube acknowledged that the previous version of the tool needed improvement in terms of accuracy. This new iteration addresses that concern by utilizing an AI-powered algorithm that precisely detects and removes unwanted songs while leaving the rest of the audio intact.

However, YouTube’s support page advises creators that the algorithm might not always achieve perfect separation. As an alternative, creators can opt to “Mute all sound in the claimed segments,” effectively silencing any portions potentially containing copyrighted material.

Once the edit is finalized, YouTube automatically removes the content ID claim, a system designed to identify the use of copyrighted material within videos on the platform. This allows creators to proceed with their uploads without copyright concerns.

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