JW Player May 2018 Product Release

Monthly update on the latest product improvements and offerings

We are excited to announce that JW Player’s May 2018 product releases are now generally available.


These latest releases enable our customers to:


Enhance viewer experience through video intelligence: Enhancements to our adaptive streaming offering enable you to eliminate tradeoffs between startup quality and speed, as our player will default to the highest quality available. Read more on our blog post on improving ad startup quality.



Improve monetization with playlist and ad performance insights: Our Recommendations and Playlist performance labs feature helps you to quantify the impact of Recommendations on viewer engagement and monetization.  Additionally, our ad errors labs feature isolates the root causes of ad errors — improving fill rates and monetization.



Ensure GDPR compliance: With GDPR regulations around data privacy taking effect on May 25, JW Player is taking steps to ensure that publishers are prepared. Specifically, we are honoring the “Do Not Track” setting for all EU customers and viewers wherever they go, and enabling publishers to request data on behalf of users (surfaced via Client IDs).


To dive deeper into our May 2018 product launch, please watch our client webinar. Additionally, you can visit our release notes to get more detailed information on any of the enhancements.

To learn more about how JW Player can support your video business, schedule time to talk with a video expert.

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Improving Video Startup Quality with Adaptive Streaming

With JW 8.3, you won’t have to choose between startup quality and speed

Publishers with premium or co-sponsored content seek both startup speed and video quality.  In the past, this has meant trading off video quality for speed: to maintain fast startup times, our player doesn’t wait for an initial quality estimation before downloading segments and beginning playback. Instead, our player has always defaulted to the lowest quality setting in the manifest, sometimes resulting in negative impacts to viewer experience and brand integrity.

To help customers with these challenges, JW 8.3 improves adaptive streaming, avoiding the lowest quality setting altogether if the viewer’s available bandwidth and the player size can support a higher quality start.

The player maintains the viewer’s bandwidth between videos, allowing the second and subsequent videos to benefit from a higher quality start at the beginning. If the viewer is watching the player embed’s first video, the player can start up at the last known bandwidth when a viewer returns to a site on the same device and browser. All players 8.3.0 and higher will benefit from improved startup quality out of the box.

We often hear from publishers that their own proprietary data suggests that the majority of their viewerbase is accessing content from high-speed connections. As a result, many publishers want to force the player to start their content at the highest quality possible. While we trust our publisher’s judgement, we also want to maintain the “no buffer” experience for which we’re known, and protect viewers on poor connections. Our new configuration option, “defaultBandwidthEstimate” represents a middle ground for publishers. This option can be used with any custom setup block.

This configuration option enables publishers to provide an initial bandwidth estimate (in bits, as is standard for video bandwidth estimation) across all viewers. This estimate can be used when the player has no other information about the viewer’s bandwidth (e.g. in case of a first-time visitor). The player’s saved bandwidth information or the viewer’s manually-selected quality level always takes precedence over the default bandwidth estimate setting.

By default, the player’s initial bandwidth estimate for all viewers is 500000, or 500 kilobytes per second download speed. But if you know your viewers tend to watch your content on broadband connections of at least 5 mb/s, you may want to set your “defaultBandwidthEstimate” to “5000000,” which will tell the player to choose an initial quality level of 5 mb/s bandwidth. Need to convert your estimate into bits? Here’s a handy calculator our engineering team uses!

One important thing to know is that the default bandwidth estimate affects the first estimate only. After the first segment, the player dynamically adjusts the viewer’s quality up or down to avoid viewers experiencing rebuffer events. The algorithm never requests a quality threshold that exceeds the width of the video player, which saves bandwidth and improves viewer experience.

For more information, see our support article about adaptive bitrate streaming, and for implementation details for the bandwidth configuration option, see our configuration reference. JW 8.3.0 is now available on the beta channel and for self-hosting and will be generally available tomorrow. We would love any feedback that you have to share.


To learn more about JW 8.3, schedule time to speak with a video expert.


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JW Player April 2018 Product Release

Monthly update on the latest product improvements and offerings

We are excited to announce that JW Player’s April 2018 product release is now generally available.

Our April release includes a number of new features, as well as beta programs, that enable publishers to:


Power growth through video intelligence: Harness data and machine learning to drive improvements in monetization, identify the audiences that are most valuable to your business, and easily configure reporting on your videos and audiences




Deepen audience engagement with your content: With our beta Facebook Publish offering, seamlessly publish videos to Facebook, directly within the JW Platform. Let us know if you want to get early access to our Facebook Publish beta program.



Enhanced workflows that save you time: Work smarter in the JW Platform, with one-stop access to video content management and analytics.



To dive deeper into our April 2018 product release, please watch our client webinar, which takes a deeper dive into our enhancements. Additionally, you can read our release notes to get more detailed information on any of the enhancements.

Finally, registration is now open for our May 15 product highlights webinar — please sign up today! 


Thanks for your continued support of JW Player.


Allyn Horne is the VP of Product Marketing at JW Player.


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JW Recommendations: Captivate Your Audience with Video

Updates that empower publishers to directly enhance engagement with the video experiences viewers want, curated at scale

In light of increased fragmentation and competition, it is no longer enough to simply present content to audiences and expect increased engagement. Viewers today expect to engage with appealing and slick content presentations that work well across all devices. Publishers that fail in this execution suffer from low view counts, high abandonment rates, and fewer return visits. In the second part of our Recommendations blog post series, we will discuss the visual improvements to Recommendations that enhance user interaction with content.


An interface that anticipates your user’s needs


New Recommendations Shelf Overlay that maximizes content awareness and encourages click throughs.


The Discovery Overlay has been updated to help publishers reduce audience abandonment mid-play. A new shelf of recommended content from the publisher’s library will now appear mid-screen when viewers pause, press the ‘More Videos’ button, or scroll to the bottom half of the video. The new shelf feature ensures viewers are always made aware of additional compelling content they could watch without interrupting the playback of the current video. Preliminary tests show that publishers have seen a 22% improvement in click throughs since implementing the new Recommendations Shelf.


Intuitive interactions with recommendations on any device

Our Recommendations is fully mobile optimized for engaging viewers on the go!


Welcome to the future with JW Recommendations on mobile! The Discovery Overlay is now optimized for all devices by supporting swipe gestures on mobile and keyboard shortcuts on desktop. Interacting with recommended content has never been more seamless—the kind of experience that will keep your viewers coming back for more.


Playlist widgets that optimize all pages and content types for video views


Get visitors more invested in your written editorial content by matching it with video.


Have you ever wondered how you can increase the ROI of your written editorial content with video but don’t have the technical means? JW Recommendations has the solution that many publishers are seeking. Our new developer code examples for Javascript playlist widgets makes displaying and aligning video with written content easy and fast. In doing so, you can capture increased viewer attention by presenting more related content.


To learn about how implementing these new visual features can deepen audience engagement and loyalty, please schedule time to talk with a video expert.


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Infographic: The State of JW Player

A visual story about JW Player’s milestone year in video

Earlier this year, we shared data and facts about JW Player’s performance in 2017 in this blog post. We’ve now put together an infographic to visualize that story—including updated player and mobile stats, new client cases, and a bonus section about our company growth. Whether you’re meeting us for the first time, a long-time customer, or anyone in between, come on in and get to know JW Player better!


*Click for full infographic*


Based on all-network data, January-December 2017

168 Billion

Total number of plays


Total number of plays per second on average

32 Billion

Total number of ad impressions

489 Million

Total hours of time watched


Trips a commercial plane would make around the world in the total time viewers watched JW Player videos



Our lightweight player and customizable platform worked harder, better, faster, and stronger in 2017.

5.5 Billion

Number of seconds of video transcoded

2.2 Million

Number of dashboard sessions

4.8 Million

Number of videos uploaded to JW Platform

5 minutes, 54 seconds

Average length of a video uploaded to JW Platform



In 2017, we debuted the world’s fastest HTML5 player, JW8.


Decrease in load time between JW7 and JW8



JW Player is much more than a player. Our video intelligence produced a huge number of incremental plays and monetization opportunities in 2017.

2.1 Billion

Number of plays from Recommendations

532 Million

Number of ads delivered via Recommendations



With 53% of mobile users abandoning sites that don’t load within three seconds, we’re invested in supporting a strong mobile experience.

<0.5 Seconds

Median playback start time on JW8



2017 saw a continued decline in Flash, and our data is in line with what’s happening throughout the industry.


Percentage of plays in Flash by end of Q1, JW Platform


Percentage of plays in Flash by end of Q4, JW Platform



Worked with Derek Jeter to tell first-person athlete stories

Interviewed Hollywood’s finest

Brought The Voice to millions online

Built a viral fan base for Game of Thrones


213 Number of employees in 2017

147 Number of employees in 2016

45% Growth in staff size

400+ New clients signed

2x Office space at NYC headquarters

Opened London office

#248 on Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500™

381% Revenue growth between 2017 and 2014


To learn more about how JW Player can support your video business, schedule time to talk with a video expert.


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JW Recommendations: Anticipating Your Audience’s Content and Viewing Needs

Updates that empower publishers to directly enhance engagement with the video experiences viewers want, curated at scale

Online video continues its explosive growth, and publishers are well positioned to capitalize on increasing viewership. However, they are often limited by the fragmentation of, and competition for, viewer attention in this new landscape.

JW Recommendations is an automated solution that surfaces contextually relevant content from a publisher’s library to its audiences, at scale. Recommendations curates content in real-time and presents stunning experiences that entice viewers to watch more all while providing publishers with complete control. In a two-part blog series, we will cover all the important information about today’s release of the latest JW Recommendations. This updated tool gives publishers what they need to anticipate and deliver the experiences that their viewers desire—deepening audience engagement.

Intelligent recommendations, delivered at scale

Intelligent Recommendations in action: Recommending additional ‘cute animal’ content based on the original video ‘Lost Lion Cub Keeps Crying for Mom’


Surfacing relationships between video assets can be a highly manual and time-consuming activity for video content teams. Today’s release addresses this issue by introducing advanced machine learning technologies that enable the JW Recommendations engine to uncover deep content relationships within a publisher’s library of video assets than what was possible before.

And this understanding means a larger quantity of relevant recommendations to viewers. Using semantic similarity techniques, for example, Recommendations understands that a video tagged with “Captain America” is related to many other concepts, including ‘superhero,’ ‘Avengers,’ ‘Marvel,’ and ‘Disney.’ This approach increases both viewer engagement, and the number of recommendations presented—at scale.

And the results are clear: Test campaign results show clickthrough increases up to 13% since semantic similarity has been implemented into JW Recommendations.

Tools for Control: Crafting tailored experiences for audiences

Effortlessly include and exclude content by using our tag-based system


Publishers have a new arsenal of tools aimed at better accommodating the output of our Recommendations engine to publisher needs, resulting in more targeted engagement. Recommendations’ ‘Filter by Tag’ now includes Exclusion Rules, which allow the exclusion of videos that are not relevant or appropriate to viewers. By simply typing in one or more content tags, publishers can craft a very specific experience for audiences.


Use URL Tag Filtering to modify feeds for advanced use cases


Similarly, JW Recommendations now supports ‘URL Tag Filtering,’ providing advanced users the same control and granularity that dashboard users have in including and excluding content by simply modifying the Recommendations feed URL. One of the key new features of URL Tag Filtering is the ability to include and exclude content by the ‘Publish Date.’ This is valuable for publishers who lack evergreen content and want to prioritize viewership of new videos.

These advanced tools mean that Recommendations can be easily fine-tuned by publishers for all use cases and experiences inside or outside the video player.

And this is just the beginning

In our next blog post, which will be published on April 4, we will cover new presentation capabilities that will help create great audience experiences.

To get an interactive view of how our improvements to JW Recommendations can further power your revenue goals, register for our March 29th webinar or schedule time to speak with a video expert.


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How to Get Started with Video Player Bidding

Integrate header bidding into your player with just one click

Until now, the potential of header bidding for video has been limited by difficult implementation and a fragmented marketplace. Video Player Bidding is a market-changing solution built for video to reduce latency and boost monetization with just one click. We’re here to help you onboard.

It’s Finally Here!

Header bidding has been an industry standard in display for a few years, but video header bidding is still cutting-edge. While video header bidding unlocks more ad revenue via increased fill rate and higher CPMs, it comes with many hurdles that most publishers haven’t been able to overcome.


JW Player recognized the market challenges and the incredible benefits of video advertising and knew that partnering with a top tier advertising technology company was the solution. After much due diligence, JW Player chose to team up with SpotX to offer the best integration to publishers. SpotX is a video ad serving platform that offers programmatic infrastructure for premium media owners & publishers, providing them with access to 65+ demand sources with reduced latency.


Now with JW8 (which is great by the way), you can finally turn on Video Player Bidding powered by SpotX with one click!

Why It Matters

Video header bidding is fragmented and difficult to implement at scale. The process is complex, requiring a lot of custom coding that can slow down your entire page as well as a fair amount of control over the page where you’re running video. If you’re motivated, it’s doable but not ideal.


As a publisher, you want more control over how advertisers are programmatically bidding on your video inventory. Header bidding boosts ad revenue via increased fill rates and higher CPMs, as well as provides the desired control, but there is no easy solution that leads to fast bids and ads. On the other side of the table, advertisers want more access to quality video inventory. JW Player’s Video Player Bidding is the first solution that gives both sides the control they’ve been seeking.


Through the integration built directly into JW Player, you can provide buyers access to player settings, content settings, and viewability data, which increase the value of your inventory. This all happens before the user clicks the player. That means no extra buffering before the ad loads and increased viewer retention.


Why It’s Hard

Whether you’re just starting with video header bidding or are working on integrating your fifth bidder, any integration takes some work to get set up. In the past you would need to load a script in the page header, request a bid from the bidder, wait for the response, then proceed down the path from there. This can require 100 lines of code or more on the page with multiple network requests — and all of this overhead creates latency and slows the page down!


Welcome to Video Player Bidding

By integrating SpotX and header bidding directly into the player, we’ve reduced a complex workflow with lots of Javascript to just one click in your JW Player dashboard:


Alternatively, you can use just a few lines of code in the player configuration:


What this means is that if you’re already running video ads with JW Player, turning on video player bidding could be as simple as one click in our dashboard. The ease of implementation is by far the biggest benefit.

Beyond the simplicity, working with one bidder like SpotX means minimal added page latency. By not requiring additional code in the header, your page load time and player setup time remain low. As we’ve evangelized in the past, and have continued to do so, this is incredibly important for user experience.


How Do I Get Started?

As you’d expect, the process is simple. We’ll break down your next steps:

  1. Already running ads via JW Player and have a relationship with SpotX
    • Reach out to your SpotX rep for information. You’re just a few clicks away!
    • Check out our Getting Started Guide for more details
  2. Already running ads via JW Player but aren’t yet working with SpotX
    • Visit this link to get in touch with SpotX to get started
    • SpotX will guide you through the onboarding process
    • Check out our Getting Started Guide if you have any concerns or reach out to your JW Player account manager
    • You’re good to go!
  3. Not yet a JW Player customer but have a relationship with SpotX
    • We’d love to hear from you!
    • Getting up and running with JW Player takes no time at all. If you’re migrating from another player, we’re happy to consult on the migration process
    • Once you’ve got video ads running with JW Player, turning on video player bidding is just a click away!
  4. I don’t currently work with JW Player or SpotX but I sure want to!
    • We’re excited to work with you too! Reach out to JW Player, and we’ll get you in touch with the right people and get your video ads running ASAP


To learn more about getting started with Video Player Bidding, schedule time to talk with one of our video experts.


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JW Recommendations: Precise Control, Beautiful Viewer Experiences, and Big Improvements on the Horizon!

As Senior Product Manager of JW Recommendations, I’m pleased to share some exciting features we’ve been developing to deliver the best in video intelligence:

  • Tag exclusion rules
  • New Out-Player Widgets

  • Powerful API tools
  • Even Better Recommendations

Precise Control with Tag Exclusion

Publishers always ask: How can I maintain control over content being recommended? Tag exclusion rules provide an easy way to remove specific videos from the recommendations system while still maintaining a large enough pool of content to provide great videos for viewers. They can be used with inclusion rules to provide the level of customizability you need for the most complex publishing workflows.

  • To learn about tag exclusion in the dashboard click here.
  • To learn about Management API tag exclusion click here.

For best practices, try to use limited exclusion rules where possible.  Recommendations performance can be diminished by overly aggressive tag rules.


Beautiful Recommendations Everywhere

Utilizing both in-player and on-page recommendations across your web properties will let you provide beautiful content discovery experiences wherever viewers congregate.

Outplayer Widgets for Developers

Our new Out-Player Recommendations Widgets help viewers discover content outside the player in two innovative ways:


Open Up the Hood

Video gurus, web developers, and engineers will appreciate the level of control we’ve exposed in the JW Platform Delivery API. Recommendations and Search support tag inclusion and exclusion, publish date filtration, and larger page sizes at request time. Easily develop for any use case in your OTT, Web, or Mobile App!

Check our updated v2 Delivery documentation for more details.


Better, Faster Improvements

Behind the scenes we’ve built a new multivariate test system to rapidly prototype and roll out improvements to our Recommendations engine. This will help us quickly release an entirely new recommender with semantic comprehension & AI capabilities.


The scale of our network of connected players, along with our exacting focus on building the best video recommendations, sets up 2018 to be JW Recommendations’ best year yet! Check back soon for more exciting announcements.


Ready to take advantage of our latest Recommendations engine? Schedule time to talk with one of our video experts.


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Starting Video Instantly after a Pre-roll Ad

Achieving a server-side ad insertion experience on the client-side with JW 8.1

One of the most lucrative and engaging placements for online video advertising is the pre-roll ad. This is the ad that comes before main content that a viewer is attempting to watch. When the ad completes or is skipped to the main content, it is imperative to start video as quickly as possible. If viewers are stuck waiting for the video to load, they will leave and likely not come back. The rate at which viewers abandon video increases the longer they have to wait. Studies show that most viewers are willing to wait 1-2 seconds for video to start. After that, you can expect a 6% drop-off for each additional second of wait time.

When it comes to transitioning smoothly from advertising to content, online video has always trailed behind broadcast TV. This is due to the nature of client-side ad insertion and programmatic video. Server-side ad insertion is a potential solution to achieve a seamless experience, but it has been two years since it was added to the VAST 4.0 specification. Overall adoption is slow and expensive because of the lack of standardization around the actual insertion and tracking. It also requires infrastructure changes that only premium media publishers can typically afford.

We launched JW8 to provide a broader base with a broadcast-quality online video experience. Using intelligence gleaned from our large network of video players, we learned how to get 75% of all of our video starts after an ad plays to be under two seconds. Our latest iteration of JW8 improves time to first frame by 100%. In JW 8.1, 75% of videos start up in under a second, with the vast majority of these plays starting close to instantaneously.

The result? An online video experience that’s as seamless as cable TV, even on slower mobile networks. Check out this video that shows the difference in performance when on a cellular network.

What’s next? We are going to extend this functionality and keep making those green bars bigger.

To learn more about how to become a video-first publisher, schedule time to talk with one of our video experts.

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Video Player Bidding: The Future of Video & Ad Tech

JW Player partners with SpotX to deliver a groundbreaking solution for online video advertising  

We’re thrilled to announce the launch of Video Player Bidding, a breakthrough header bidding solution for video with our exclusive partner SpotX, the leading video ad serving platform for publishers.

This special partnership marks the first time video advertising will be directly integrated into a player. Rather than inserting an ad script into the header of a page, publishers can simply flip a switch from a video platform to activate header bidding, no implementation required. In essence, you get the benefits of header bidding without the header.

By connecting JW Player publishers with Spot X’s vast ad server network, video player bidding overcomes the challenges inherent in header bidding—greatly improving monetization with maximum CPMs and ad fills. For publishers trying to achieve the unenviable task of merging video tech with ad tech, video player bidding brings together the best of both worlds.


Header bidding is the practice by which publishers can simultaneously garner bids for ad impressions from multiple demand sources before calling the ad server, resulting in more overall ad yield for publishers.

While in theory these programmatic exchanges should happen automatically, in practice the process is complicated and hard to implement, especially in a fragmented marketplace.

In addition, header bidding is a direct cause of page latency. Plugging in more SSP tags slows pages down significantly and increases the likelihood of viewers installing ad blockers.


Video player bidding offers a powerful solution to these challenges. By integrating directly into the web player, the ad decision is made server-side before a viewer hits play, vastly reducing latency.

Compared to header bidding, the process is much more streamlined. Publishers will have access to 65+ DSPs, driving demand and giving advertisers access to previously unavailable premium inventory. Publishers can also leverage valuable video metadata to increase the value of their inventory.


We couldn’t be more excited to join SpotX in bringing this innovation to the market. In an age when brand safety, trust, and transparency are of paramount importance in the digital ad world, we believe our one-of-a-kind solution will help both publishers and advertisers reach unprecedented success.

Video player bidding will be available beginning March 1, 2018. To learn more and to sign up for more information, go to www.jwplayer.com/video-player-bidding or watch this interview with JW Player Co-founder Brian Rifkin and SpotX Chief Revenue Officer Sean Buckley discussing the solution:



Ready to become a video-first publisher? Schedule time to talk with one of our video experts.

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