12 Takeaways from JW Insights 2018

What we learned about digital video at JW Player’s 5th annual conference

At JW Insights 2018, we explored everything from video intelligence and machine learning to monetization strategies and actionable analytics. It was a very full day of discussions with 300+ industry registrants, and we’ve put together 12 key takeaways from some of the best panels, keynotes, and fireside chats. Take a look below.


Takeaways from JW Insights


1. Test everything and test outside the normal boundaries, so your video business is flexible and ready for inevitable change.

2. One of the major issues in the video ad industry is VAST/VPAID errors, but until VAST 4.0 is widely adopted, we’re stuck with them.

3. Every media brand and video provider should be invested in OTT.

4. Speed is the bedrock of video experience success

5. In the age of GDPR, informed explicit consent is critical.

6. Brand safety and trust in the ad ecosystem are a two-way street for buyers and sellers.

7. Blockchain holds promise but needs to evolve much more for true impact.

8. Data can help content creators optimize distribution, diagnose anomalies, and integrate feedback.

9. Don’t solely rely on YouTube and Facebook to gain viewers — take control of your owned and operated site.

10. Study your video’s performance via metrics, funnel down to what really matters to your business, and incrementally improve.

11. Machine learning will never fully replace human ingenuity but can expedite workflows.

12. Shorter ads might lower CPMs but also grow revenue with additional views.


Overheard at JW Player

  • “Killer presentation by Rob Gill. The @Jwplayer 8.4 beta looks like a game changer for load times. great job. #jwinsights #contentlogistics”
  • “If you look at our platform, 65% of the deals being transacted are direct and curated.”
  • “Killer session learning about applying data signals within digital video at #jwinsights”
  • “A great day at JW Insights 2018! An excellent line-up of speakers and moderators. As the media industry continues to transcend into the world of OTT & TVE, we will all benefit from these insights. Already looking forward to next year!”
  • “80% of the internet in 2020 will be video and 10% of all online videos are through JW.”
  • “Video is the future. It was great to hear from content creators, brands, and ad tech folks alike about the importance of video intel and analytics.”


Read More

Check out our JW Insights 2018 blog series here, including:

JW Insights 2018 Recap

Video Intelligence: The Next Frontier



To learn more about how JW Player can support your video business, schedule time to speak with one of our video experts.


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Infographic: The Rise of Mobile Video

The future of digital video isn’t on a desktop; it’s on a device

In the late ’90s, my mother recorded TV shows on VHS tapes. Now 20 years later, she finds better gifs and online videos than I do and has taken it upon herself to text them to me on a regular basis. I am, against all my expectations, caught up on viral videos thanks to a woman who used to only swear by her trusty VCR.  For her—and countless viewers around the world—mobile video experiences have steadily become a fact of life. Take a look at how far we’ve come with JW Player’s latest infographic—”The Rise of Mobile Video.”







Cisco: IP traffic shoots up to 3 zettabytes by 2021, video will be 80% of it



Google’s emphasis on mobile page speed will hit CNN, WSJ and other top sites

More Than 75% of Worldwide Video Viewing is Mobile

9 in 10 Viewers Share Mobile Video Content


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




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June 2018 Video Tech NYC Meetup

JW Player hosts developer discussions on blockchain, video transcoding, and peer-to-peer video delivery

On Thursday, June 14, 2018, JW Player hosted our first Video Tech NYC Meetup of the year. Over pizza, drinks, and conversations, we welcomed developers and other video industry professionals to hear from two leading experts in the tech community: Eric Tang, Founder and CTO of Livepeer, and Pierre-Louis Theron, Founder and CEO of Streamroot.

The Video Tech NYC Meetup is an open forum for anyone interested in the underlying technology behind video and online video publishing: HTML5 video, rendering, streaming, transcoding, codecs, advertising, open standards, video testing pipelines, VR/360, analytics, and more.

In Tang’s presentation, we looked at the video transcoding network in Livepeer – an open-source, decentralized video streaming network using the Ethereum blockchain. Under Livepeer, transcoders do the claim work and are incentivized to complete correct transactions, and verification is decentralized. Livepeer uses techniques similar to crypto mining to drive down price and improve the performance of video transcoding. The talk also covered vote-casting for transcoders via the token economy.

Theron gave a presentation on “WebRTC Peer-to-Peer Delivery: Scaling Up Your CDN Infrastructure for the World Cup.” His company, Streamroot, is the largest peer-to-peer delivery network for OTT broadcasters. During this talk, Theron presented the architecture of Streamroot’s peer-assisted video delivery solution leveraging webRTC. To integrate peer-to-peer libraries with JW Player and other players, publishers simply need a single line of code.

In addition, Theron’s talk covered insights on customer data and how Streamroot iterates on its algorithm to improve the QoS p2p efficiency. Distributed technologies, Theron said, cannot be tested on a test bed; tests should be done with several viewers in real-life conditions.

Stay up-to-date with Video Tech NYC Meetups here. The Meetup focuses on the engineering side and not the creative side, but creatives are welcome.

For more information about the Meetup and how JW Player can support your video business, schedule time to speak with a video expert.


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Video Intelligence: The Next Frontier

At JW Insights 2018, our Cofounder & Chief Innovation Officer Jeroen Wijering shared how video intelligence benefits publishers—and everyone else—in the digital video ecosystem

Though it’s the biggest force in media right now, video has traditionally been a bit of a black box. It wasn’t always easy to access data about things like the video’s content, where it plays, whom it’s reaching, and how it monetizes. All that is changing thanks to video intelligence. As our Cofounder/CIO Jeroen Wijering showed at this year’s JW Insights, data innovations play a crucial role in unraveling video mysteries, simplifying workflows, and boosting engagement—among many other benefits.

Two Aspects of Video Intelligence

According Jeroen, video intelligence serves a dual purpose by revealing information about:

  • The video itself – While many insights were previously locked behind the player, now it’s possible to extract data frame by frame. As a publisher, you could, for instance, identify parts that feature raised audio or cheering and hone in on segments that contain faces.

    By uncovering this metadata, video intelligence saves time in the editorial workflow. You can group shots together, determine where the break points are in a storyline, enrich your video summarization, classify files for your library, and much more.

  • The user – Once you understand the video’s content, take it to the next level with viewer insights. By tagging identifiers and tracking users across devices, video intelligence monitors how users interact with specific scenes. You can detect drop-offs and compare how certain scenes performed against other parts of the video. Essentially, you’re able to find out what users are interested in and develop viewer engagement best practices.

Who Benefits from Video Intelligence?

A better understanding of video content and audiences benefits everyone in the ecosystem:

  • Editors – Beyond the workflow enhancements mentioned above, video intelligence provides additional ways to improve efficiency, such as the ability to chop up long interviews and construct highlight reels based on specific segments.
  • Developers – Video intelligence is a foundation for creating a richer, adaptive, and personalized user experience. It also makes interactive video possible (see: searchable transcripts and clickable hotspots).
  • Data scientists – Video intelligence allows better access to raw data and deepens the analysis of content.
  • Advertiser – Video intelligence helps to better target audiences, predict buyer journeys and churn, and earn greater revenue.

Video Intelligence at JW Player

We’re heavily invested in video intelligence in 2018 and beyond. As Jeroen mentioned, “we have rich video timeline data combined with rich user timeline data, and we package them to make data-driven products.” Among the offerings? Our JW Recommendations engine and metadata extraction platform. Stay tuned for more to come.


To learn how to grow your video business with video intelligence, schedule time to talk with a video expert.


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Bill Day to Speak at Stifel’s 2018 Cross Sector Conference

JW Player’s COO will join a panel on artificial intelligence in the enterprise

Artificial intelligence is poised to change the digital video world. At Stifel’s first Cross Sector Insight Conference, JW Player’s COO Bill Day will explore AI’s future impact with other industry experts in a panel titled “Artificial Intelligence in the Enterprise” on Wednesday, June 13, 2018 at 8:00 a.m.

Stifel’s inaugural Cross Sector Insight Conference will be held June 11-13, 2018 at the InterContinental Hotel in Boston. The event will welcome 250 leading public and private companies across the consumer, diversified industrials & services, energy, internet, media, real estate, and technology sectors.

In addition to AI, the conference will feature collaborative panels addressing other timely issues, including the Amazon disruption, the emerging cannabis industry, and the technology behind autonomous vehicle development.

Speakers will include Dr. Janet Yellen, former Federal Reserve Chair, and Brad Garlinghouse, CEO of Ripple, a blockchain-based cryptocurrency company. Grammy award-winning singer and songwriter Darius Rucker will perform live.

Stifel Financial Corp. is a financial services holding company, headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri, that conducts its banking, securities, and financial services business through several wholly owned subsidiaries.


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Depending Only on YouTube for Ad Revenue Is Risky

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

Imagine that you operate a YouTube channel with over 8 million subscribers. This would rank you among the top 500 publishers on YouTube, which means your content would be wildly popular, far surpassing the viewership most cable networks, especially among the coveted 18-24 year-old male demographic. Surprisingly, the ad revenue from your channel doesn’t make you obscenely rich, but it provides a nice living, as they say, for you and the small staff of millennials you pay to create the videos.

You’d also imagine that your army of fans would make you popular with YouTube itself, since they are taking up to 45% of your copious ad revenue.

You would be wrong.

In fact, you might start to think that YouTube actively dislikes your channel, because they start “de-monetizing” your videos, citing vague violations of their “advertiser-friendly content guidelines,” like this one from December 2017.

YouTube isn’t deleting your videos, mind you—just your ability to make any money from them.

As result, your revenue plummets, taking with it your nice living but more urgently your ability to pay your millenial creators, which means fewer videos, which means even less revenue, which means a potential death spiral for your business.

This is basically what happened to Explosm, makers of the popular but controversial “Cyanide and Happiness” webcomic. In response, Explosm has started a Patreon community in the hopes that donations from fans will make up for the lost revenue. It will be interesting to see if they are successful.

It is another example of how risky it has become for even the largest video creators to rely solely on platforms like YouTube for their revenue (back in January my colleague Bill Day wrote about similar impact Facebook has had). Even a minor change in their terms of service can take a creator from blockbuster to bankruptcy almost overnight.

Creators need to take more control of their own destiny. Thanks to the open web, it is easier and more cost-effective than ever to distribute you own video content and monetize it any way you want.



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Deconstructing 3 Myths about Licensing Syndicated Video Content

In a joint blog post with our video content syndication partner VideoElephant, we untangle common misconceptions about incorporating third-party videos into your content strategy

Telling visual stories isn’t just about having decent content. It’s also about extending the life of these stories, growing richer narratives, and building a library that is greater than the sum of its parts. Licensing syndicated content plays a key role in helping publishers achieve these goals.

But understanding exactly how content syndication works isn’t always straightforward. We overview the industry problems addressed by licensing content, identify three common misconceptions about incorporating it into your video strategy, and discuss how it can jumpstart your video business.


Challenges in Building an Expansive Content Library

  • Video content is king.

Video is the ultimate medium for storytelling. Cisco projects that global internet traffic from videos will make up 82% of all internet traffic by 2021.  Web publishers who have successfully implemented a video content strategy have seen improvements in SEO, user-experience and monetization opportunities.


  • Problem #1: Video content is expensive.

There are a lot of hidden costs associated with creating the best video possible, including fees for production staff, hiring talent, equipment, design, sets, food, and insurance. Creating high-quality video content is still a significant investment. As the current online video environment shows, sustaining a heavy production schedule is almost prohibitively expensive.


  • Problem #2: Video content is hard to scale.

Managing and expanding a portfolio of thirdparty content providers can be extremely labor and resource intensive. Video libraries require uniform encoding, metadata, and an over-arching taxonomy to be managed and navigated. Add to this the rights and licensing issues presented by third-party content and very quickly it becomes clear there is a lot of work to be done to scale your video library effectively.

  • Problem #3: Video content is hard to keep uptodate.

There are a number of reasons why it’s hard to keep video content up to date, one of the key being production time. Creating high quality video content is certainly a time-consuming process that requires significant resources. Similarly, it’s tough to keep your videos as current as possible because topics, trends, and breaking news change rapidly. It is necessary to have the ability to refresh your library continuously.

Content syndication is designed to overcome these challenges, but some common misconceptions might stand in the way of making it part of your video strategy. We’re here to address them.


Register for the Webinar


Myths about Video Content Syndication

  • Myth #1: Only small companies need content syndication.

Traditionally most forms of media have been syndicated and companies large and small have benefitted. It may seem safe to assume that larger publishers would have the resources to produce substantial original content. However, this is often only partially true.

While these companies typically create premium quality videos, they normally want to expand the breadth of their offerings in a way that their production budgets may not always cover. Outsourcing content extends their library and frees staff for additional priorities. The NY Times, for example, syndicates Bloomberg’s content.


  • Myth #2: Content syndication means losing control over your brand and limiting your monetization opportunities.  

Some publishers believe that drawing from multiple content sources could dilute their brand and complicate their monetization models. It’s important to remember that as the publisher, you’re in the driver’s seat, and licensing video content does not result in a loss of control. Premium publishers integrate syndication into their overall content strategy, planning out a strategic mix of both original and licensed content that is consistent with their overarching vision.

Many content syndication solutions offer monetization as well as the player and content (bundled/all-in-one solution). In this case the publisher will not have the ability to control the ads served and hence not have access to the full value of the inventory or the user data associated.

It’s important to have ownership of your ability to monetize video. Opting to work with a content-only solution allows you to access great content while retaining control and ownership of your monetization strategy.


  • Myth #3: Implementing content syndication costs a lot of resources.

Even after building an outstanding content library, delivering that content can seem daunting for many publishers. Conventional wisdom might have you believe that it requires a dedicated engineering team or a complex web of software developer partners. The truth is, advances in technology have not only made it possible to automate much of the processes required, but also ensure that the content being outsourced is relevant and delivered quickly.

A One-Stop-Shop Content Solution from JW Player and VideoElephant

JW Player has teamed up with VideoElephant to offer the best in content syndication for our video publishers. With more than 1 million videos in its library, VideoElephant aggregates content throughout the Web and makes it available through JW Player.

Through our combined solution, you can access complete, premium video from household brands on an efficient and scalable pricing model. The content is all made available through a single platform and linked to your JW Player account for seamless delivery—this means content from VideoElephant delivered through JW Player can fit into your current content strategy, and you retain full control over the advertising. Access the total CPM value of your inventory, gain total control of the ads served to the users, and review all of the data associated.

In the current environment of media consumption, not taking advantage of the premium video content being produced across the digital world would be a missed opportunity. To learn more about content syndication, watch our upcoming webinar, featuring:

  • Rotimi Oyewole, Product Manager, JW Player
  • Johnny O’Neill, Senior Account Manager, VideoElephant
  • Brian Cullinane, Chief Revenue Officer, VideoElephant


Register for the Webinar


Check out VideoElephant’s blog post here.

Schedule time with a video expert to learn more about implementing an excellent video content strategy.

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Believe the Hype: Video Monetization is Real

5 Insights about video monetization from Ad Week Europe

Digital video has become the hottest advertising format in the media world. For publishers, this rapid growth has posed a number of crucial questions: “Is video advertising scalable? Can you really stake your business on it? Is it better than display?”

At Advertising Week Europe this past March, JW Player COO Bill Day sat down with three industry leaders to get to the bottom of these important questions at the session “Believe the Hype: Video Monetization Is Real.” Along the way, the panelists discussed their first-hand experiences of how video is driving publisher revenues. Here are five things we learned.


1) Video now accounts for 35% of all online ad spending.

After years of anticipation, video advertising is now aligning with the growth in video viewing among consumers.


“Any great ad medium sits on top of a huge shift in consumption,” Day said, noting that video now accounts for 35% of all online ad spending.


Time Inc. product manager Umar Nadat believes that “video is the future,” which is why the company now publishes video content alongside written articles whenever appropriate. This integrated editorial strategy has helped Time UK achieve 252% year-over-year growth in video revenues.


2) In the era of walled gardens, publishers need to diversify.


Facebook’s recent algorithm shift has served to remind publishers that there’s lots of money on Facebook and Google, but it’s dangerous to become too dependent on a single third-party  platform.


“It’s all about diversification and making sure we’re not foes with those guys, but we’re staying out of being dependent on one point of capture,” said Sherzod Rizaev, global head of commercial ops for the sports publisher Minute Media.


As Day put it, “Diversification doesn’t mean abandonment.”


3) Publishers need to make their videos easily accessible to users.

The dominance of walled gardens also means that publishers need to be smart about how they monetize videos and engage the visitors they bring in from outside platforms.


When Time UK pays to acquire traffic, Nadat says the company makes sure that it’s linking to pages where video content is front-and-center and easy for the user to find.


4) Programmatic is now the dominant stream of publisher advertising revenues.

Like many publishers, Minute Media is now selling a majority of its inventory programmatically, with 85% of global ad revenues coming through programmatic channels.


Léon Siotis, UK & Southern Europe managing director at the ad-tech platform SpotX, added that terms like “premium programmatic” are no longer necessary because “programmatic is just your sales channel.”


5) Header bidding can be good, but not good enough.

Header bidding has increased ad revenue for many publishers, but setup can still be difficult and time-consuming.


Time UK added header bidding for video this past summer, and the results have been positive. On Black Friday, the company saw CPMs of up to £50, performance Nadat described as “one of the most insane things ever.”


However, Nadat noted that implementation is still “clunky” for video header bidding, a problem that JW Player is overcoming with our new server-side Video Player Bidding solution, in partnership with SpotX.


Click here to watch the full video.

Want to learn more about video monetization? Schedule a call with one of our video experts.


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What GDPR Means for JW Player Publishers

How we’re responding to the new European data privacy law

Starting May 25, 2018, Europe will enforce the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), a landmark policy to bring greater transparency to the use of personal data by corporations.

Rooted in the idea that individuals should know who is collecting their information and how that data is used, GDPR raises the stakes on data misuse. Offenders can face fines of 20 million euros or up to 4% of global company revenue—making GDPR one of the most significant pieces of legislation in recent years to modernize privacy and security laws across Europe.

If you’re a video publisher wondering how all of this will affect you and your relationship with JW Player, we’ve got answers.


How does JW Player use data?

We collect information like IP addresses, local storage identifiers (cookies), and metrics around viewing behavior. As outlined in our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, this data is used to provide our services and continually improve them.


Which video publishers are affected under GDPR?

Any video publisher with European viewers must comply with GDPR, regardless of where that
publisher is based.


How does JW Player comply with GDPR?

We’re committed to the safety and privacy of all our viewers, and we’re putting measures in place to that end. These steps include compliance around issues that concern (but are not limited to) opt-outs, access, portability, and our DPA—a document governing the relationship between JW Player and our publishers.

Because we process data on behalf of our publishers, we rely on publishers to obtain a legal basis for our use of viewers’ personal data. This gives you control over your EU data and allows you to determine what we can do with the information.

If you have more questions, please reach out to us at contact@jwplayer.com.


Additional Reading



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