JW Player November 2018 Product Release

Monthly update on the latest product improvements and offerings. 


Closing out 2018 we’re thrilled to announce four new product releases for this month that enable our clients to:

  • Get better ROI from their investment in video content
  • Diversify their revenue portfolio and improve a site’s advertising experience
  • Enrich their insight into an audience’s video consumption
  • Seamlessly publish videos to Facebook and YouTube


The products below continue to showcase how video intelligence can power growth and loyalty for any digital-first media company. Quick note, this month’s release represents our final release of the year.


Article Matching
Get more ROI from your investment in video content: The pioneering Article Matching (Beta) from JW Player selects the most contextually relevant video from a publisher’s library and embeds it into the article automatically. We have a limited number of invites available for this beta program; if interested, please sign up for the invite list here.


Outstream Player

Diversify your monetization and improve your site’s advertising experience: With the release of our new Outstream Player (Beta) that only renders when in-view and ad inventory is sold as well as being closable by users at all times. We have a limited number of invites available for this beta program; if interested, please sign up for the invite list here.


Audience Interests
Enrich your insight into your audiences’ video consumption: Data Lab: Audience Interests reveals the video content categories your audience is watching on and off your site. Using these insights can help you to gain a deeper understanding of how your audiences’ video consumption aligns to your content strategy.


Publish to Social

Seamlessly publish your videos to Facebook and YouTube: Using Publish to Social in the JW Player dashboard enables you to simplify your content distribution and scheduling on social media.


As always, we welcome any feedback that you have.  Please direct all comments or feature requests to jwproduct@jwplayer.com.  We appreciate the opportunity to serve you and your video needs.

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JW Player Announces Agenda for its London Insights Conference

Wieden+Kennedy London CEO and Expedia EU CMO join a day of discussion around digital video and advertising.

Registration is now open for the second annual JW Player London Insights Conference on November 15th. Building off of its New York Insights event earlier this year the company has announced its full agenda of speakers.

The day will bring together leaders within the digital video, advertising, and creative spaces to discuss the opportunities and challenges that lay ahead. These discussions will be fostered by Sonoo Singh, Associate Editor of The Drum, the global home of media, marketing, and advertising.

Speakers for the 2018 JW Player London Insights Conference include:


Insights will also bring together JW Player co-founders Dave Otten and Jeroen Wijering to lay out their vision for the future of digital video, followed by Bill Day sharing how the company’s 2019 product roadmap will support clients in an increasingly competitive digital video landscape.

For those who can’t make the event, they can follow along with the #JWInsights hashtag on Twitter and Instagram. Also, follow @JWPlayer across all major social platforms for updates on this event and all things digital video.

Held twice a year in New York and London, the JW Insights Conference looks to bring together the brightest minds in video, media, and advertising to discuss how to stay ahead in the ever-changing digital landscape.


Registration is now open here.


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The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of VAST Errors

Breaking down how JW Player’s VP of programmatic advertising, Darjan Milojkovic, thinks about Video Ad Serving Template (VAST) errors.


VAST error codes enable the player to communicate back to the ad server to explain why a video tag didn’t serve an impression to the user.

Despite being labeled an error, not all VAST errors indicate a technical malfunction. On the contrary, you can even argue that some of them are good – even necessary for programmatic advertising.

With the help of Clint Eastwood and his fellow bandits, we’ll walk through what I consider to be three distinct categories of VAST errors.

The Good: An empty VAST response

For this category, we will primarily look at VAST error 303, commonly referred to as an empty VAST response.

When a third party programmatic tag or ad network can’t fill the impression, you want them to trigger an empty VAST response. This allows the ad server to select the second highest priced line item in the waterfall since the first one correctly passed up on the ad request.

Similar to display ads, the empty VAST response functions like passback tag where there isn’t any demand for the visiting user (or if CPM floors aren’t met). An empty VAST response is usually the result of a business decision, as opposed to a technical reason for why the tag didn’t fill the impression.

VAST 900 errors are officially labeled as an “undefined error” but they’re increasingly being utilized as an empty VPAID response. The main difference between the 900 and the 303 error, consequently, is the nature of the creative that triggered them. A VAST creative will result in a 303 whereas a VPAID creative ends up with error code 900.

It’s very important to emphasize that an empty VAST response happens in a timely manner — unlike VPAID opt-outs and wrapper time-outs which we’ll discuss further down.

The Bad: The setup can be improved

Here we find VAST errors that can be addressed by improving the quality of the player embed on the page. The most common VAST error in this category is 402.

This one is typically triggered when publishers are showing video ads in an autoplay environment, especially when the player isn’t in focus. Another culprit is low bandwidth or poor user experience due to competing requests that delay the loading of the media file. Multiple players autostarting at the same time also contribute to multi-burn and bad VAST errors.

The context in which a 402 VAST error gets triggered is different from the scenario that would lead to VAST error 303. In the case of a 402, there is a cookie match, i.e. the advertiser wants to serve an ad to the user but the player placement prevents it from doing so as illustrated above. Make sure that viewability and completion rates are up to industry standards to minimize bad VAST errors.

VAST error 503 gets triggered when the size of the player is smaller than the creative it’s trying to play. If you’re running pre-roll in-stream ads in an in-banner video unit, these will show up frequently in your inventory. If you haven’t segmented your desktop and mobile inventory, you’ll also run into this error code.

Another set of bad VAST errors concern the XML document and the creative itself. They are quite uncommon, but let’s cover them quickly.

VAST errors 100, 101, and 102 commonly indicate that there’s something wrong with the entire XML document. The few times I’ve seen it happen it’s been due to a bracket not being closed properly or an extra character in the document that doesn’t belong there.

VAST errors 200, 201, 202, and 203, meanwhile, indicate that something is wrong with the creative itself. A different size or duration compared to what’s specified in the XML document tends to be the usual suspect.

The Ugly: VPAID opt-outs and timeouts

In my opinion, the biggest obstacle for video ads and a seamless user-experience are client-side VPAID auctions. When the player has been stuck loading for a while and finally starts playing the content video – without a pre-roll campaign – it’s usually due to a VAST error resulting from an opt-out or a timeout by a third-party tag.

We want to be very careful about accumulating the following errors:

  • VAST Error 300/301/302 = Wrapper Opt-Out
  • VAST Error 400/401 = VAST Opt-Out
  • VAST Error 901 = VPAID Opt-Out


Why are these VAST errors ugly? In this article by Digiday, the stumbling block is explained very well:

This is largely being driven by video ad networks that win auctions but then, finding nobody they can resell the ad space to, don’t complete the purchase. The publisher is left without any revenue for the unused space.


In other words, instead of sending an empty VAST response in a timely manner because they can’t fill the impression, these tags insist on finding buyer through secondary auctions, redirects, and loops that perhaps will never finish unless the player intervenes.

What can you do to prevent VPAID opt-outs and timeouts?

From the JW Player’s point of view, we can control how long and how many redirects we allow each tag to conduct. Using the IMA client, as an example, we can tinker with the following variables:

  • advertising.vastLoadTimeout = In milliseconds, the maximum amount of time between the ad request and a returned VAST file before timing out.
  • advertising.maxRedirects = The maximum number of redirects the player should follow before timing out.

Please note that while increasing the amount of time each tag is granted to conduct an auction may result in fewer errors, it also degrades the user experience. You can view all the methods for managing opt-outs, as well as the default settings for each variable, at this link in the advertising section.

More importantly, I think it’s pivotal for the publisher to have active discussions with the third-party demand sources about why they’re causing opt-outs and timeouts. Ask if there’s anything you can do to mitigate the errors. Unless they come back with a concrete set of action items, or if the performance doesn’t improve over time, it could be worthwhile to change up the ad stack.


Join Darjan this Thursday (October 18th at 11am ET) for a full conversation into minimizing ad errors and maximizing video revenue. Registration for that discussion can be found here


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Takeaways from IBC 2018

Perspectives from this year’s IBC Show by JW Player’s Co-founder and Head of Strategic Partnerships, Brian Rifkin

Every year broadcasters and media company executives from around the globe fly to Amsterdam for the IBC Show. Personally, I have been coming to the show for the past five years and am always interested in what folks are excited, and worried, about.

This year, some of the main headlines are surrounding what folks were not talking about, just as much as what was being discussed. From the lack of conversation around VR, 360 videos, and blockchain to a focus on live streaming and cloud editing, the vibe of this year’s IBC Show (and DMEXCO for that matter) was realism over futurism.

So, without delay here are my takeaways from this year’s IBC Show.

Let’s live in the moment

One of the more striking trends from this year’s show was the lack of discussion surrounding two emerging technologies – immersive experiences (virtual reality and 360-degree video) and blockchain. Over the last two years, there has been endless chatter about the future of media being tied in some form to these technologies.

The impression I got after chatting with a variety of industry executives was that while both will be important to both the delivery and monetization of video in the future, it was still too early. They were more focused on how to capitalize on the present opportunities, creating a better experience for audiences with cross-screen distribution, and addressable video advertising (more on that below).

My takeaway: Coming out of a few years of digital media exuberance where tons of capital was being put into startups, there is now an urgency to “live in the moment” and focus on growing audiences and generating enough revenue today, so that we can look to the future tomorrow. While there is still optimism, the lack of practical applications of both blockchain and immersive media puts a damper on those longer-term conversations.

Addressable Advertising

Feeding off the need to capitalize on the opportunity in front of the media companies and broadcasters was the ability to reach audiences with more targeted ads, and provide better analysis to marketers. As TV dollars continue to shift to digital, executives around the show were looking for better ways to reach audiences across a variety of screens while also staying compliant with GDPR.

Personally, I feel this was one of the more exciting topics of discussion as it combined the realistic “deal-making” discussions with the more future-facing topics of what we can do as marketing technologies become more advanced.

My takeaway: Put simply, digital video advertising is about to get a whole lot better in the near future. Right now we see anecdotal complaints of the lack of targeting and the lack of inventory. More critical to the future of the media ecosystem is the fact that digital video advertising is about a quarter of the size of linear TV ad spend. This shift to digital can only accelerate if we create tools that show increased value to brands and marketers.

Please, no more OTT apps

It’s official – we have hit peak OTT. This may not come as a total surprise with the folding of go90 earlier this year, and multiple other players beginning to shutter their OTT operations. But you would never know that by looking at this year’s IBC Show.

Everywhere you turned, there was someone who was offering to build a custom OTT app for broadcasters and media companies. The growth of these custom developer shops is a result of a market on the brink of saturation.

My takeaway: This euphoria has very similar characteristics to the mobile app development craze we saw almost a decade ago – yeah there’s an app for that. Based on what I heard at IBC, I predict a similar consolidation within the OTT marketplace. The result will be a fallout that creates clear winners and losers over the next twelve to twenty-four months.

High Expectations for Cloud Editing

Finally, it’s not all about the business of broadcasting, it’s also very much about the creativity and production that goes into creating videos. The ability to edit footage in the cloud and upload it directly into a CMS has made life astronomically easier for broadcasters, and allow for more efficient workflow during the editing process.

My takeaway: While we continue to focus on how to support media companies and broadcasters, it is incredibly important not to forget that without the creators there would be nothing to stream. We are continuously looking for ways to make their lives easier from creating Content Scores (a way to understand how your video is performing), to AI driven workflows. By finding ways to take the legwork out of creating incredible video will only help to foster a thriving digital video ecosystem around the world.


Overall, it was a great year to be at IBC and am looking forward to next year’s!


Brian Rifkin is a co-founder of JW Player and head of strategic partnerships.


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