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Inside Video Tech: JW Player

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As part of our new ‘Inside Video Tech’ interview series we are shining a light on innovation in the video and streaming space. Here, Jeroen Wijering, the Co-Founder and Chief Innovation Officer of JW Player describes the company’s strategy and discusses broader changes in the media landscape. JW Player has worked in the online video market for more than ten years and its clients include Eurosport, Daily Mail, Channel 5 and AccuWeather.

-Describe JW Player and the company’s core focus.

JW Player started as one of the first open source video players, and over the last decade has developed into a leading video technology company.

We are focused on creating the future of video for media companies and brands around the world. We do this by creating all of the products and features that these companies need to be successful in video – from the player to the platform / CMS to analysing the data to monetisation and generating revenue from those views. 

-When was the company founded and how has its strategy changed since then?

JW Player was founded in 2008 and as the video industry has evolved so have we. We initially were focused on providing a player for that developers and publishers could use to distribute video content.

Over time, we found that larger publishers and broadcasters were interested in using our video platform. So while we’ve kept the open, flexible approach that was core to our early days, we’ve also focused on building the most robust online video platform in the market.

With that in mind, we have pioneered a number of innovations that enable enterprise publishers and broadcasters to drive more revenue with video and data. This includes driving ad yield and monetisation opportunities with solutions like Video Player Bidding, as well as building OTT apps that enable our customers to engage their audiences wherever they are.

-Who do you see as your biggest competitors and how do differentiate yourself?

Our biggest competitors are media companies who try and build their own video technology, and YouTube.

When media companies and brands turn to JW Player it’s for two main reasons – first, they know they can drive higher CPMs and fill rates using our bufferless player because it delivers high-quality and fast playback that keeps viewers engaged with the best video experience on the web.

Or second, they turn to JW Player for video products and solutions they can’t find anywhere else, such as Article Matching and Video Player Bidding. Article Matching is a proprietary tool that automatically inserts relevant videos into posts based on the context of the article, increasing views. While Video Player Bidding is a unique solution that brings the power of header bidding to video.

-What do you see as the biggest opportunities in the video / technology space and what are the biggest challenges?

As new generations are growing up without cable TV, there’s a tremendous opportunity for our customers to entertain and inform them with digital video. We are already seeing entire new classes of publishers that offer sports, shows, or educational content that would never have made its way onto linear TV but still drive large, loyal audiences.

The biggest risk is that most of this digital growth is going to the big platforms — FANG (Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, Google). That’s why we see it as our mission to enable independent publishers to compete with these platforms by offering an equally impressive user experience and monetisation engine on their owned and operated properties.

-What innovation or development do you think has had the biggest impact on the video market as it stands today?

Obviously, the smartphone has changed the world, including video consumption. We continue to see pretty astounding growth in mobile video, especially as many populations around the world effectively leapfrog computers and televisions to go mobile-only for their information and entertainment.

I also believe mobile devices will in the longer term be powering TV experiences, at the expense of smart TVs or set-top boxes. Technologies like Airplay and Chromecast remove barriers to entry for smaller brands in a similar way to how HTML5 and Flash have enabled them to effectively start publishing video 10 years ago.

-How do you think the video market and viewing habits will look five years from now?

In five years the terms “digital” and “OTT” will be obsolete. Low Latency streaming and 5G connectivity will take full hold and while linear television will still exist the vast majority of content will be viewed on connected devices. And linear TV itself will mostly be powered by IP based technologies.

“Bundles” as we think of them now will now be a combination of streaming services and cable channels will be the “added value” given to consumers.

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