JW Insights London 2018 Event Recap

Dec 3, 2018


The most important observations about the digital video industry from our second annual Insights London event.

Publishers, broadcasters, and brands across the globe are dealing with one of the most crowded and competitive global media environments in recent memory. With video projected to become 80% of internet traffic by 2020, all segments of media – from advertising to editorial to technology – need to come together as premium publishers struggle to succeed in this new normal.

At the 2018 JW Insights London Conference, over 100 leaders from across advertising creative to editorial to ad tech came together to chat about how best to not only survive, but thrive in a video-first future.




“The Big Idea” cannot be lost

There is a conception that in the digital age advertising has gotten worse. With the rise of ad blockers, limited attention spans, and more intrusive ads – many attendees believed that digital ads, in particular, have a negative effect on the user experience. Without a big creative, entertaining, or inspiring idea – many campaigns will get lost.  


Not all readers will be viewers – and that’s okay!

Many attendees were looking for ways to drive more video views on the O&O platform, but in actuality, there is a lot of money being left on the table.

“By segmenting your inventory to focus on those who want to become viewers (i.e. click to play) you will be able to drive higher CPMs, better fill, and ultimately more revenue,” said Brian Rifkin, Co-Founder & Head of Strategic Partnerships at JW Player.  

There was some disagreement about the benefits about autoplay, but ultimately what many could agree was that…


Your tech stack is more important than ever

Ad errors were common complaints from speakers, attendees, and clients alike. By simplifying your ad tech stack, and “reading between the lines” many are able to ensure that these errors or fixed as soon as possible. One of the main culprits for these errors and a bad user experience is over-engineering the experience and not streamlining the technology stack. This will become even more important because…


Video advertising is going to be mostly programmatic

An incredibly compelling stat from Dr. Daniel Knapp, Senior Director, Media & Advertising at IHS Markit, was that Europe now sees 12 billion Euros bought and sold programmatically per year.

This is not just relevant for the UK and Europe but globally, as many of our attendees felt that programmatic would be the main source of revenue driven from their video inventory.



Neil Christie, CEO at Wieden+Kennedy London

  • “I don’t necessarily buy into the premise that advertising is getting worse. You don’t remember the terrible advertising – so it’s the good stuff you remember. There certainly more of it, and it is more intrusive – so arguably yes, there is the cream on top but just a lot more shit underneath it. So the quantity of it and intrusiveness of it makes it less welcomed.”
  • “In an environment where anything in culture is instantly available the kind of stuff, [teenagers] are looking at is extremely eclectic, so there’s a huge variety of culture to draw from. But the other thing is that you’re going to have to do something really extraordinary, interesting, and entertaining to cut through and hold their attention.”
  • “The relatively new platform that we have been using quite a bit is Twitch because it’s a huge audience, and you can do quite innovative things with it because they are engaged for a long time – like a day or two days.”


Tom Pickworth, Head of Technical Operations at MailOnline

  • “On the really risky content, we disable ads. We have an editorial tool that allows them to make sure that ads won’t show up next to that content. We try to be very careful about brand safety.”
  • “Autoplay is here to stay.”
  • “Being educated on the errors and what they really mean is critical. You hope they don’t last more than a day.”
  • “We treat each of these platforms very individually. There are certain things that will work on one platform, that won’t work on another.”




What’s the most common mistake you see people making when setting up their video ad tech stack?  

  • Over-engineering your ad tech stack, which slows down the player and ruins the user experience.


What are the main things you look for when ads aren’t working?

  • If the response is empty or not
  • Is it a network related problem or a format problem?


What are some recommendations to minimize ad load time?


Is video programmatic really that different from display?

  • Yes, a video has much greater complexity in terms of loading times and creative formats to be supported.


What can I expect with the release of VAST 4.1?

  • Specific fields for VPAID functions such as viewability and interaction, hence fewer errors and more reach.




If you’d like to catch up on sessions from JW Insights London check them out on JW Player TV!


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