A Year of Progress: Looking Back at 2018

Jan 8, 2019


A look back at a year of video innovation and partnership with leading media companies and brands.


As we begin 2019, we wanted to take a look back at some of the innovations that took place over 2018. Our product and engineering teams focused on three key themes to provide our clients with the tools to drive growth and loyalty.

These themes were adapting playback experiences, enhancing workflows that save you time and powering growth through video intelligence.


Adaptive Playback Experiences

At JW Player, we feel that your viewers deserve an experience that is lightning fast, customized to their native language, and tailored to whenever or wherever they’re watching digital video. So this year we launched the following products to meet those expectations.


Buffer Free Player

One of our first launches in 2018 was a buffer free player. By reducing latency (aka: lag time) without sacrificing picture clarity we were able to bring broadcast TV quality to the web.

To achieve a truly buffer free experience our product team had to combine background loading, startup quality, and ad preloading.

Ultimately, this combination provides clients with an experience that keeps audiences engaged and ultimately increases CPMs, fill rate, and revenue per visit.

Better viewing experiences and more money? A true win-win.


Automated Player Localization

In the fall we launched a tailored viewing experience for non-English language audiences. Ensuring that the JW Player automatically detected the language of a page and adapted its interface to match that language.

Clients can now use a single player across multiple languages – over 13 to be exact with more coming in 2019.

For global reach, you need a truly global video player.


Mobile SDKs 3.x

Finally, we’re living in a multi-screen world and your videos need to work perfectly for every screen. Our latest mobile SDKs make it easy for your teams to deliver a consistent video experience no matter where your viewers are, or which device they’re using.


Enhancing Workflows: Saving you, and your viewers, time

We know that the old saying that “time is money” is truer today than ever before. In 2018, we looked to save creators the time and effort it takes to make entertaining, inspiring, and informative videos across the globe.


Publish to Social

Promoting your work post-publish is a critical step in growing an audience. While we still feel that videos on your O&O will be the best way to monetize, using platforms like Facebook and YouTube for distribution and marketing is critical.

We wanted to make it easier to publish videos to these social networks, and the Publish to Social feature does just that by seamlessly pushing videos to Facebook and YouTube.

In just a few clicks you can now save the duplication of uploading content & populating metadata. In addition to scheduling, you can assign videos to a playlist, add tags, and choose to notify subscribers.

Share your stories from the JW Dashboard to social networks across the globe in seconds.


Ad Rules

A frequent challenge we hear is that there’s a trade-off between viewing experience and ad revenue. We don’t believe that has to be the case, and one of our product highlights of this year was a tool to enable you to balance the ad load on your site. By managing and optimizing the frequency of ad breaks across all your demand partners you are able to balance ad dollars with a compelling user experience.

JW Player has also created a dedicated Solution Architecture team who can help you test and optimize both your advertising revenue and viewer engagement.

Getting this balance right can be a challenge, and the JW Player team is here to help you combine technology with deep industry expertise.


Standardized Player Errors

There is nothing worse than trying to figure out why your video is encountering an error.  Reducing playback errors was a key priority for the team in 2018.

JW Player’s standardized player errors make it possible to troubleshoot video playback errors faster with detailed in-console error messaging and one-click links to support documentation.

This saves your engineering time and resources to focus on moving your business forward. It also saves your reputation with viewers and advertisers.


Powering Growth through Video Intelligence

Finally, in 2018 we introduced the idea of video intelligence to power growth for our clients! We’ve developed products that ensure your videos don’t just play, and play beautifully, but provide you with the information you need to create (and monetize) better content in the future.


Content Score: Driving Quality of Experience

The future of video is moving beyond “play” or “view” counts. These are just surface level metrics that don’t give you a true understanding about what audiences really think about a video – and let’s be serious, is three seconds really a true view?

Content Score looks at both the enticement rate (percentage of exposed viewers who were enticed to start watching a video) and engagement rate (percentage of video consumed by viewers who engaged with a video) to rank which pieces of your content drive the most value for your site.

Looking across the JW Network, we’re seeing a few areas where folks have an incredible opportunity to improve.

For example, if your Enticement Rate is low (i.e. people are not clicking), this could be due to poor placement of a video, a video that is out of touch with the article page, or the advertisement is stopping folks from getting to the actual video!

Additionally, if you have a high Enticement Rate and a low Engagement Rate – it probably means that people are not interested in that content or it doesn’t match their expectations.

Content Score gives you a benchmark to make better bets on your content creation strategy.


Video Classification & Data Lab: Audience Interests

Similar to Content Score, Video Classification & Data Lab looks to provide you with great insight into your audience’s consumption patterns.

We have taken the approved IAB categorization to break down the most viewed content categories both on your site and across the JW Network.

By breaking down what your community is watching, and how it compares to our network of world-class media companies and brands, we give every client the ability to identify potential areas of content investment and make better bets with your time and money.

This data-driven approach takes the guesswork out of your content strategy.

Finally, in 2018 we introduced upgrades to our JW Recommendations product. JW Recommendations helps clients develop sticky audiences by driving audience discovery and engagement with more videos.

If you liked this video about Messi, you’ll probably like this video of FC Barcelona or this other video on Ronaldinho!  

This year we enhanced JW Recommendations with two new interfaces – shelf and shelf widget – designed to drive more recommendations plays. One appears inside the player, and one can be placed outside of the player.

By using these features, clients saw a 20% increase in click-throughs and views. An easy way to answer the age-old question, “how do I increase the number of views on my site?”


From data-driven insights and the fastest to first-frame on the market, to building a truly global player – 2018 was an incredible year for video innovation at JW Player.

That’s why we continue to be trusted by the world’s leading media companies and brands – from Vice to Viacom and Peloton to Penske.

Our New Year’s resolution for  2019 is the same as every year: to continue to innovate on behalf of our clients and help you create the future of video.


To learn more or schedule time to speak with a video expert.