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How JW Player became the largest video player behind YouTube and Facebook


By Natan Edelsburg, SVP

August 7, 2015 | 6 min read

As competition heats up in the video space it's important to pay attention to how the business world is using video technology when it's not YouTube and Facebook. JW Player has emerged as an important solution that even ESPN is using. According to the company they are "used in 193 countries across more than 2 million websites to deliver video to over 1 billion unique viewers a month and by hundreds of thousands of publishers around the world, ranging from bloggers and individual content creators to leading Fortune 500 brands and large media companies like Sony Pictures, ClearChannel, POPSUGAR, and ESPN."

JW Player

JW Player

The company, which was founded by Jeroen Wijering, an online video pioneer "created the open video architecture that formed the basis for the first version of YouTube," according to the company. They recently made their "Pro" version free in an effort to provide brands with a more customizable video solution that works across any platform. Found Remote interviewed Wijering about the platform and the online video space.

Found Remote: What's your background?

Jeroen Wijering: While co-founding JW Player has made me an entrepreneur by definition, I’m really a programmer at heart. Since I first started working with computers I was fascinated by code, tinkering to see if I could create software that did something new and innovative. That desire to get into the weeds of technology is ultimately what drove me to create the JW Player, and is still what drives me as I develop our leading video products today. I work to use technology and data to dive JW Player but also to advance the video industry as a whole. I regularly publish research on online video trends, mobile video and even more technical subjects like HTML5 in order to educate everyone passionate about video.

FR: Why was this platform launched?

JW: Back in 2005, as the early iterations of Facebook and MySpace were just taking off, I realized there wasn’t a good way to share video content online. So, I started working on creating something that could bring video content to the online community. That became the JW Player, which went on to be used in the first version of YouTube, and is now the third largest video player in the world.

As I began working on my video solution, I realized I wanted to create a product that was collaborative, allowing other programmers like me to jump in and build functionalities they thought would make a better player. I credit the open-source foundation of JW Player as one of the key reasons for its success, which is why JW Player is still so committed to open-source video technology today.

FR: Which TV networks do you work with and how?

JW: We work with a range of content creators looking to think more strategically about online video, whether they be an independent blogger, a digital publisher like POPSUGAR, or a household name brand like ESPN. On the television side, we work with a few networks to help deliver their content online. For example, we work with PBS on streaming their content online, making sure shows like Downton Abbey and Sherlock are available to all their fans. As much of their content is international, we ensure the streams run smoothly everywhere, giving all their viewers equal access to a great viewing experience.

FR: Found Remote recently covered the competition between Facebook and YouTube in video - how does JW Player fit in? Thoughts on the competition?

It’s not really about competition for us. There’s no denying that YouTube and Facebook are the behemoths of video – their size and reach alone make them a requirement for most content creators. But we view Facebook and YouTube as only parts of a complete and holistic online video strategy.

Video is more popular with consumers than ever. Turning over the reigns to a giant company or building an in-house tech team to create a proprietary player aren’t feasible options in today’s data-driven, video-focused media landscape. That’s where we come in. JW Player is a necessary complement to walled-garden models like YouTube and Facebook. We give publishers control of their strategies, allowing them to customize aspects of their program like monetization, branding, analytics, and support mobile, streaming and casting technologies, giving them the power to create the video strategy that works for their consumers.

FR: Anything else?

JW: It might not seem this way, but we are really at the beginning of online video- it is just going to grow from here. We will see this growth through people “cutting the cord” and shifting to watching video online. But, we will also see online video growth through strategic content creation from all types of companies. Video is the most effective communication medium and we will see more organizations embrace video to help with branding, corporate communications, education and other business needs.

You can access the Found Remote hub here. Sign up to receive The Drum's Found Remote newsletter.

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