Live OTT: The Advertising Opportunity

5 Insights about monetizing OTT video from Advertising Week Europe

Live OTT (“over-the-top”) video is pushing the boundaries of digital video, and more and more advertisers have taken notice. But to truly become a burgeoning field in the world of digital advertising, OTT monetization must find its footing among a number of issues. At Advertising Week Europe, industry experts—including JW Player’s COO Bill Day—sat down with Léon Siotis of SpotX to discuss the challenges and opportunities within OTT advertising. Here are 5 key takeaways.

 

The Speakers

1) OTT ad data is scarce and isn’t easy to access yet.

Quality data on OTT ad performance has been spotty at best, but the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) will be unifying and standardizing its measurements to include OTT. This means publishers and marketers can eventually compare individual ad consumption across web, mobile, and OTT. But accessing data directly from OTT platforms remains challenging. “Being able to get standardized measurements will help OTT grow from a monetization standpoint,” said Bill Day.

 

2) Companies are still ironing out where OTT advertising fits into their budget.

For some companies, OTT is now part of the innovation budget, but for others, it falls into the overall AV budget—as is the case for Discovery. “The goal is to collate VOD impressions . . . so there’s a convergence between TV and digital,” said David Fisher, Vice President of Digital Ad Sales at Discovery. Innovation budgets, which can reach beyond OTT and include interactive video, are emerging yet hard to measure.

 

3) OTT raises the bar for more relevant ads.

Unlike linear TV, OTT allows viewers to make a conscious decision to watch. “OTT video is in front of a customer who’s decided, ‘It’s my primetime,’” said Aurelia Noel, Global Digital Partner at Carat. An irrelevant ad is disruptive and ignores the viewer’s choice. Aurelia compared this experience to a “bath with nice music, and someone storms into my bathroom trying to sell something.”

 

One key challenge for live OTT advertising, then, is to insert ads in a natural or comfortable way that makes sense. That could include finding natural ad breaks that exist, for example, after every half inning in baseball, though not every live sport will lend itself to advertising in this way.

 

Moreover, the challenge is to ensure ads stay relevant. “People don’t mind advertising as long as it’s relevant, impactful, and playful,” said Aurelia. “It’s our role as agencies to work with advertisers to make sure we have creative that’s fit for purpose.”

 

“Too often you see the creative created first and then we find the audience for it. But it should be the other way around,” she continued. “It should start with the audience: Where is that ad going to be seen? What kind of moment am I going to tap into?”

 

4) OTT advertising won’t face the same challenges as mobile.

Despite its challenges, OTT advertising is expected to break through in a way that mobile video couldn’t at first. “Mobile was in a death trap for years,” said Bill. “It was new, hard to measure, and the screen was small. I don’t think OTT will suffer from that. OTT will scale very rapidly in both consumption and monetization.”

 

5) GDPR is both a blessing and a curse for OTT advertising.

On the one hand, the European privacy and security legislation will further limit access to data that is already rare in the OTT space. But it can also be a “gift in a way because it helps clients put together a data strategy. We can create personas using data, making advertising smarter and more effective,” said Aurelia.

 

The session concluded by asking panelists to rate industry hot topics as either “Underrated” or “Overrated”:

 

  • Death of TV – Overrated. As the most effective medium, TV is going through a golden age.

 

  • Death of the media agency – Overrated. Media agencies may be transformed but will still play a hugely valuable part in the ecosystem.

 

  • Duopoly or Triopoly – Underrated / Real. It’s important to push advertising beyond the concentration of power held by Facebook, Amazon, and Google.

 

  • Artificial Intelligence – Underrated. A decent amount of OTT inventory is programmatically sold, and AI (as distinct from machine learning) will change the ad world.

 

  • Blockchain – Underrated. There’s a lot of opportunity for blockchain to combat endemic issues like fraud in the digital space.

 

Click here to watch the full video.

To learn more about how JW Player can support your OTT video advertising, schedule time to speak with a video expert.

 

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Decision Tree: Are You a Video-First Publisher?

Assess if your company is ready to make video your #1 source of revenue

At JW Player, we make a big deal out of being a video-first publisher. But what does that actually mean? Which questions should your company ask on the way to owning that definition and making video your #1 source of revenue?


If you’re getting your strategy off the ground, have no fear. This decision tree puts a lighthearted spin on assessing the type of video publisher you are and the next steps you can take…but only if you manage to reach the end. Good luck and see you on the other side!

 

*Click image for full PDF*

 

To learn more about becoming a video-first publisher, schedule time to speak with a video expert.

 

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“Making 360 Video Easy for Publishers”​ at 7th FOKUS Media Web Symposium

Perspectives on the digital video world from JW Player’s SVP of Technology

My interest in virtual reality started in 3rd grade, when I was obsessed with a book called Danny Dunn, Invisible Boy. It’s about a kid who is given a dragonfly robot that can be controlled with a “telepresence helmet” and gloves. He uses his ability to virtually exist in other places to enforce justice, specifically exposing a Spelling Bee cheater and preventing the dragonfly from falling into the hands of people with sinister motives.

The book was published 44 years ago—obviously the authors were quite prescient. It was not the first work of fiction to describe virtual reality, however (in English, anyway). That honor goes to the 1935 short story “Pygmalion’s Spectacles” by Stanley G. Weinbaum.

My point is, people have dreamed of immersing their consciousness (minus their bodies) in other realities for a long time, but we have only recently developed the technology to actually do it.

So why are so few people, myself included, using it? By consumer electronics standards, sales of VR headsets were minuscule in 2017, as they were in 2016, though analysts are predicting a surge in 2018—as they did in 2016 and 2017.

I think it’s primarily because, despite huge investments and promotion from Google, HTC, Facebook, Samsung, and others, using VR equipment is still too expensive, difficult, and awkward for most consumers. After the initial novelty of VR, people can’t be bothered to strap a viewing device to their head simply to watch a few videos.

However, I also think people would put up with the clunky user experience if there were more interesting content to watch, specifically 360 video. But creating and distributing 360 video content is still incredibly difficult and expensive for most publishers.

The people at Fraunhofer FOKUS have invited me to speak about 360 video at 7th FOKUS Web Media Symposium in Berlin on May 15. I won’t be demoing any robotic dragonflies, but in the session “Making 360 Video Easy for Publishers,” I will discuss the challenges facing publishers who want to get their 360 video on the web and some ideas for overcoming them.

JW Player offers products and tools to make publishing 360 video easier today. For more info, see Pearl’s “360 Video: Looking Back and Ahead” post and Henry’s series on “360 Video & Virtual Reality (VR) in JW Player.”

 

To learn more about JW Player’s 360 video support, schedule time to speak with a video expert.

 

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It’s All in the Execution: 5 Tips For Building a Sustainable Video Strategy

JW Player cofounder Brian Rifkin shares advice for becoming a video-first publisher

Digital video was a $13 billion business in 2017 and is forecasted to grow at a double-digit growth rate for the foreseeable future. And given the rise of next generation digital video platforms like mobile, OTT, and even connected home devices, the growth has no end in sight over the long term.

Video simply can’t be ignored by any publisher. However, success in video is not easy. Most websites/publishers built their original business without video, relying on text and images. These publishers are facing the challenges of integrating video into their strategy. Some of the newer breed of publishers launched as video-first and optimized for social platform distribution. With the fallout of Facebook’s recent algorithm change, they are also facing challenges.

The good news is that both of these challenges are surmountable and when implemented correctly, will create a video website experience that is engaging for consumers and lays the foundation of a sustainable advertising business.

Here are  five key recommendations that websites/publishers should focus on for a successful video strategy.

Match your site experience to the user’s expectations.

Experienced and new publishers alike frequently forget that not everyone who arrives on their page will be expecting video content. If you’ve ever x’ed out of a window to avoid an unexpected autoplay video, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

This is why it is crucial to tee up your content in a way that prepares people for video, creating an “intent to watch” experience. Whether the user is arriving from a newsletter, social media, search, or your homepage, you can set this expectation by including a thumbnail image of your video alongside copy with phrases like “watch what happens” or “click here to watch our video review.”

 

Put money into an effective user acquisition strategy.

When it comes to user acquisition, there’s no such thing as a free lunch anymore. Whether you’re using SEO or social media sites like Facebook, generating organic visits has become an intense competition over a shrinking pool of traffic. If you want to bring high-value video viewers to your site, you’ll need to invest in a paid media budget.  Be sure to promote video in these campaigns to ensure you’re driving users to your site with intent to watch.

Regardless of where you spend your money, it’s important to optimize every post for the highest possible ROI. With the right technology, you’ll be able to run multivariate testing on every piece of video content, as well as the copy and thumbnail image you use to promote it.

 

Master the science of online video.

Video can be a major source of digital ad revenues, but it only works when media brands take the time to master the unique challenges of the format.

Unlike display, it’s unwise to simply load up on as many demand partners as you can find, as doing so will lead to VAST errors that poison the user experience and decrease your overall yields. Instead, it’s best to be disciplined about who you bring in, whittling down your prospective buyers to the ones who deliver the highest CPMs and fill rates.

And while publishers make most of their automated display revenues from the open auction, the programmatic video money is in guaranteed deals and private marketplaces. Since both of these arrangements require publishers to connect with individual demand partners, you’ll need your in-house sales team to build relationships with buyers. If you don’t have an in-house sales team, ask your exchange partners to help you connect.

Last, but not least, it’s crucial to hire skilled ad-tech professionals who can recognize and troubleshoot any technical problems that arise.

 

Make it fast, really fast.

In video, the easiest way to uncover hidden revenues is to speed up your website. After all, 53% of mobile users will abandon a site if it takes three seconds or more to load.

Whereas display advertising rewards publishers for loading their page with additional banner ads and content recommendations, video publishers must be careful not to distract the user — in essence, less is more. Since video advertising delivers such high yields, the right page configuration will be one that encourages people to go into the video player and watch multiple pieces of content.

 

Take things one video at a time.

While all of this may sound daunting, it’s important to remember two things: a) there are already publishers who have followed this roadmap to success and b) there’s no reason you can’t take your time finding what works for you and build another page if you need to.

Instead of trying to execute a total pivot to video overnight, it’s best to take things one video at a time, testing and learning as you go. The key is to remain focused on building a video-first content strategy, a speedy, intuitive user experience and an intelligent programmatic stack. If you can do these things, you’ll be well on your way to finding a path that works for you.

 

Ready to become a video-first publisher? Schedule time to talk with a video expert.

 

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Market Smarter with Video Intelligence

In a B2B Growth podcast, JW Player CEO Dave Otten shares how marketers can tap into viewer insights that drive the bottom line

What lies at the heart of a good marketing plan? It boils down to one thing: understanding what makes your audience tick. But truly getting to this point can be a royal pain. Sometimes there’s limited data. Sometimes there’s only a partial story of who the target audience really is.

The good news is that market research is growing more sophisticated every day thanks to video intelligence. Using data and insights gleaned from viewer behavior and consumption, marketers can connect the dots on how audiences engage with media online and reach the right people at the right time. Our CEO Dave Otten explains how on B2B Growth, a daily podcast for B2B marketers.

The video industry’s “dirty secrets”

According to Dave, there are two main problems or “dirty secrets” facing marketers and publishers in the video industry:

 

  • A shortfall of quality video content: There’s an imbalance between the demand from advertisers and the supply of quality inventory from publishers. Creating engaging, compelling videos remains a key challenge for a lot of publishers trying to monetize successfully.

 

  • Limited data that informs monetization: Many video advertising strategies could be improved with better insights into video content, how it’s consumed, who it’s reaching, etc.

 

Video intelligence as a marketing tool

“For marketers looking to reach audiences, JW Player helps those folks get access to data sets that they can then use to enrich their existing data around who their customers are today,” says Dave.

(These “data sets” are among the video world’s largest—each month 1 billion people, or one seventh of the global population, will watch at least one JW Player video.)

Dave gives the example of a person who buys Tide detergent and regularly visits a handful of sites and watches specific videos. Video intelligence would help a Tide marketer see how these viewing patterns are interconnected, understand better who this person is, and what s/he might do next to inform a next purchase of Tide.

Another example is the consumer who watches a video on VICE.com and then visits Cosmopolitan.com to watch a fashion video. Pre-video intelligence, a marketer might primarily define the audience in terms of VICE’s demographics, but now there’s an added layer of nuance—an interest in fashion—that could impact the marketing message.

“We provide granular insights” that allow marketers to “make connections at an individual and content level of how people engage and where their interests might lie,” says Dave. Marketers might discover, for instance, that seemingly unrelated sites actually share the same users.

“If you can make those connections and make it more efficient for marketers to be successful in reaching their audiences,” he continues, “then that’s a big win for everyone in the ecosystem.”

 

Improving user experience with video intelligence

A quality video advertising experience would not be possible without excellent playback, and video intelligence enhances the speed and performance of video plays.

Dave explains that time to first frame is lightning-fast because “we use video intelligence to make sure we load the proper components of a video player given your bandwidth connection.”

If players are set to autoplay, video intelligence helps determine that the video only runs if the player is visible on the screen—for advertisers, a guarantee that their ads are being seen.

****

As we’ve shown in our JW Recommendations blog series, publishers have much to gain by capitalizing on video intelligence to engage audiences. But for advertisers, the possibilities are only just beginning—and could be quite endless. Video intelligence is increasingly essential to understanding audiences, delivering riveting messages, and growing profitable businesses.

 

To all the advertisers out there, welcome to the new world of marketing.

 

Click here to listen to the full podcast (episode #664).

 

Learn more about strengthening your marketing strategy with video intelligence. Schedule time to speak with a video expert.

 

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JW Player Joins Forces with Float Left to Simplify OTT for Publishers

Our partnership provides a complete “over-the-top” solution that reaches viewers seeking premium viewing experiences while ma­intaining choice

We’re proud to partner with Float Left to create an end-to-end OTT solution for content publishers and broadcasters around the world. Float Left is a front-end application developer whose apps have helped publishers like Crackle, NBC Sports, and Viacom delive­­r content on OTT (“over-the-top”) devices. This partnership bridges JW Player’s high-quality online video delivery with Float Left’s templated apps and custom development. Publishers will be able to expand their content distribution, create premium viewing experiences, and focus on their core business.

 

For many publishers, OTT is the next frontier. Viewers want to “lean back” with the quality of cable TV while maintaining the convenience and choice of watching video on-demand. OTT content, streaming over broadband or cellular, offers the best of both worlds.

 

And the market has noticed. OTT’s share in ad spend jumped to 26% in October 2017. The previous year, that number had been at just 8%. It’s the kind of momentum that has led to very tiny, minor predictions like OTT revenues reaching $120 billion by 2022.

Viewers can stream full-length online movies and TV shows via their OTT device.

 

But setting up OTT is far from straightforward for most in-house teams. Not only do they need to stream videos flawlessly, but they must deliver them via OTT apps individually customized for Roku, Apple TV, Smart TV, Amazon Fire TV, and any number of other OTT devices. Limited time and staff resources, difficult implementation, a cumbersome app submission process, and complex monetization are just a few of the hurdles standing in the way of becoming a true OTT publisher.

 

At JW Player, we have many customers who want to overcome these challenges and take their online videos “over-the-top.” Float Left develops video-centric apps that can stream their content from JW Platform so that viewers can quickly access publisher videos through OTT devices. With analytics tracking, publishers can make informed programming decisions and eventually compare how their videos are performing across OTT, web, SDKs, and more. From launch to code maintenance, publishers receive full life cycle support.

 

The end result is a much more simplified, turnkey process for delivering visually stunning experiences in digital video. Publishers can bring their content to more screens and, most importantly, put technology in the hands of video tech experts while they get back to running their business.

 

Having collaborated with Float Left previously, we’re excited to continue our work together with a partnership that gives more publishers OTT options to engage their audiences. If your viewers want to stream premium video on their TV without cable, the time has never been better to extend your business into OTT.

 

Having problems with your “over-the-top” video strategy? Get to the bottom of it by scheduling time to speak with a video expert.

 

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An Encouraging Development in the HEVC Patent Mess

Perspectives on the digital video world from JW Player’s SVP of Technology

Earlier this month, HEVC Advance announced changes to their royalty fees for commercial use of the HEVC video compression standard. In short, these changes will make it essentially free to distribute video content on the Internet using the HEVC codec. Previously the content royalty rate was a complex matrix of rates by content type (subscription, title-by-title, etc), but it boiled down to potentially millions of dollars per year.


The HEVC Advance device royalties remain, but they have been discounted. As always, Jan Ozer provides an excellent summary.

 

These changes are great news, and most likely a result of growing industry backing for AV1, a royalty-free codec being developed by Google, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, and others. Indeed, even if AV1 as a technology flops, it will have won a significant victory for the industry by pressuring HEVC Advance to cut fees.

 

What is HEVC Advance, you ask? To use HEVC commercially, you must pay royalties to companies (or universities) whose patented techniques are used in the standard. These payments are required even if you are using open-source implementations of HEVC. For AVC (HEVC’s predecessor), a single company called MPEG LA collected these royalties and distributed them to the patent owners.

 

In the case of HEVC, however, three such “pools” have sprouted up–MPEG LA, Velos Media, and HEVC Advance. Of the three pools, HEVC Advance’s fees were the highest. (Well, as far we know, because Velos has never published their rates.) To make things even less clear, companies such as Technicolor have foregone membership in all the pools to collect their own royalties independently (also unpublished).

 

The result has been uncertainty and confusion among companies who are considering using HEVC, not only around how much money must be paid now, but around the risks of future royalties if a new pool or patent holder emerges demanding yet more royalties. The situation is so bad that the long-time chairman of MPEG (the group that standardized HEVC) called it “tragic” and “a crisis.

 

So while the HEVC Advance changes are welcome, they might have arrived too late to gain the confidence of browser makers, device manufacturers, and other implementers to adopt HEVC.

 

As as result, we still find ourselves waiting for AV1 to save the day (it was officially released yesterday, in fact), but I fear that is going to take much longer than people hope. For more on that subject, see my previous post.

 

John Luther is JW Player’s SVP of Technology.

JW Player supports your video-first business. To learn more, schedule time to speak 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*

AT A GLANCE

Based on all-network data, January-December 2017

168 Billion

Total number of plays

5,300

Total number of plays per second on average

32 Billion

Total number of ad impressions

489 Million

Total hours of time watched

9,600,000

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

***

PLAYER & PLATFORM

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

***

JW8 UPDATE

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

30%

Decrease in load time between JW7 and JW8

  ***

RECOMMENDATIONS ENGINE

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

***

MOBILE

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

***

FLASH DEPRECATION

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

7.23%

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

2.08%

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

***

OUR CUSTOMERS

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

OUR COMPANY

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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“Where’s the ROI?”

Walking your C-Suite boss through video advertising’s biggest misconception

If you’re in charge of a publisher’s video content program, few events can cause more anxiety than a meeting with the C-Suite when you’re first getting your initiative off the ground.

You’ve assembled a great team, produced dozens of quality videos, and worked late into the night on your carefully crafted distribution strategy. The only problem? Your new video program hasn’t quite delivered the ROI your company was expecting yet. And now it’s up to you to explain why your company should continue devoting resources to it.

Debunking the greatest myth about video

While some executives have the misconception that video doesn’t produce a strong enough ROI, the truth is video can be very lucrative.

As any publisher knows, quality video content costs much more to produce than a written article or slideshow. But the long-term payoffs can be substantial. The Interactive Advertising Bureau predicts that U.S. advertisers will spend $14.5 billion on digital video in 2018, with this number climbing to more than $23 billion by 2021. Publishers who are able to break into the over-the-top (OTT) television market will have an opportunity to reap even greater rewards, with ad revenues in this space expected to top $30 billion in 2018.

In addition to highlighting these facts in your C-Suite meeting, consider bringing success stories of how media giants have integrated video into their businesses. Hearst, which generated 15 billion video views last year, just recently opened a new, 26,000 square-foot production studio dedicated to video. Firms like Vice Media have built multi-billion dollar companies on the back of a strong digital video operation. Though Vice began as a niche punk-rock print magazine in 1994, the publisher’s early bet on original video and branded content have helped it grow into the household name it is today.

For more examples, our resources page features case studies that can support your conversations with the C-Suite.

Why does this misconception about video exist?

New video publishers frequently struggle not because they lack quality content with high ROI potential, but because they aren’t showcasing or monetizing their work the right way.

For instance, if not enough people are engaging with videos on your site, your problem might be that you’re not A/B testing your headlines and thumbnails. If your visitors are leaving quickly after they arrive on the page, you might want to speed up your site load times. If people aren’t interacting with ads, a more strategic approach that invests in the lifetime value of the customer may be in order.

Monetization can further be hindered by the fact that, until recently, a great deal of video viewing has taken place on outside platforms like Facebook and YouTube, which generate lower CPMs for publishers and force them to split their revenues with another company.

Facebook’s latest algorithm changes have dramatically reduced social traffic to branded videos, meaning publishers can make an even greater case to their C-Suite boss: The time has never been better to use their owned and operated site as the main source of video monetization.

How JW Player can help

Here at JW Player, video monetization is what we do. Our ad technology is compatible with all major ad servers, networks, and exchanges, and our latest partnership with SpotX further allows publishers to simultaneously access multiple demand sources via video player bidding. We also offer consultative services on optimizing your ad yield. Best of all, you won’t have to worry about a revenue split diluting your ROI, as our customers keep 100% of their ad revenues.

So relax, take a deep breath, and know that help is on the way. We’ve proven time and again that video advertising can deliver major ROI for a wide range of video publishers. There’s no reason for your
C-Suite boss to believe your firm will be any different.

 

Ready to boost your video ad revenue? Schedule time to speak with a video expert.

 

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