Greycroft Co-Founder Ian Sigalow's Insight into the Software Industry

Thanks to our friend and investor Ian Sigalow, Co-Founder and Partner of Greycroft, for the excellent mention of JW Player in his recent blog post, titled, “The Great Deflation”. He shares the story of JW Player's origins and growth, and discusses how its unique data set will help to assure the company's future. Below is an excerpt from the piece, which I encourage you read in its entirety, as Ian offers a valuable perspective on the current landscape of the software industry:

"Back in 2011, my friend Geoff Judge introduced me to a start-up called Longtail Video.  At the time Longtail had a popular video player with 500K free users, and a smaller number of customers who had paid a one-time license fee.  It took a year of discussion before we finally invested behind a plan to turn Longtail into a SaaS company.  Longtail’s website got a lot of free traffic, so we thought we could convert those free users into paid users, reduce our sales and marketing expenses, and pass those savings on to customers in the form of lower prices.

Fast forward to today, and JW Player (as the company is now called) streams about 5% of all the video on the Internet. They continue to provide a free product too, and that version is now used by over 2.5 million publishers."

VPAID 2.0 Now Available in JW Player 7.1

JW Player 7 now supports VPAID 2.0, the IAB standard that allows interactive video ad units to play in HTML5 without the use of Flash. VPAID 2.0 allows a video player to render a JavaScript creative provided within a VAST tag. These JavaScript creatives add interactive elements, allowing the viewer to choose their own experience or to get additional information about the product advertised. These creatives can also be used to communicate with an ad server to better target ads to the viewing environment.

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Benefits of VPAID 2.0

CSS <3 JW7 - A Skinning Introduction

In this article, we'll explore the basics behind CSS and why JW Player chose CSS for its new skinning model. In addition, we'll also explore some interesting modifications that can be done to the player's skins.

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In the early days of the web, HTML pages were cold, sad places. Text was unformatted, image slicing was commonplace, and tables were all the rage. For a great example of old school web design, look no further than Space Jam. While we can still appreciate Michael Jordan’s stellar comedic performance to this day, the Space Jam website has unfortunately not aged as gracefully. Designers from the early web needed a better way to make sites beautiful and, because of this notion, Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) was developed as a W3C standard for web site styling.

Google IMA & MPEG-DASH in JW Player SDK for Android & iOS

The JW Player mobile team is excited to bring you the latest features for building a native iOS or Android video player in your apps and monetizing your content. Our newest releases have focused on adding features for advertising, including Google IMA, and adding streaming support for MPEG-DASH. Please read on for more details.

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How Chrome Power Saving will Affect JW Player

The developer teams from Chrome and Firefox1 have announced core changes to how they will handle Flash applications. Despite being an HTML5-first video player, these changes can affect video playback through JW Player. The announcements indicate that the browser itself will decide whether or not a Flash application is core to the viewer's experience. If the Flash object is small and outside of view, the browser will throttle or add an overlay on top of the Flash application, stopping it from fully rendering2. This functionality is aimed to help reduce power consumption and increase battery life. Applications that use HTML5 and native <video> tags will not be affected.

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JW Player Behavior

Introducing JW Player 7

I would like to introduce JW Player 7 -- our fastest, smartest, and most customizable player yet. JW7 was reengineered from the core API to the visual interface to provide the best online video experience no matter what device, browser, and rendering mode is used to play your content. We have added MPEG-DASH support which will help transition away from Flash based streaming protocols. The player is also completely customizable now with CSS. Alongside JW7’s launch is also a brand new dashboard to make publishing and configuring JW Player even easier.

Our number one goal for JW7 was to make it faster. This player is built for speed. It is faster to load -- 35% over JW6 -- faster to render video, and faster to develop and integrate with. Expect new features to be delivered faster too. Speed is essential for an application that is live on over 3 million websites around the world -- especially as viewers are using mobile devices more and more frequently to consume video content.

With JW7 we had the opportunity to rethink our fundamental architecture and make huge performance gains. These gains came from refactoring three main areas:

Empowering Our Publishers with a New Dashboard

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If you are not purely a JW Player API user, you are managing your JW Player experience using our publisher dashboard.  Our latest version of the dashboard has been completely redesigned and rebuilt from the ground up, using a modern technology stack that allows us to create an excellent experience for our users.

At JW Player, we’re all about speed (did you see that our latest JW Player Android SDK version is 5x faster for HLS video startup?).  Our new dashboard has been written using AngularJS, a Javascript framework that excels in the creation of highly-optimized single-page applications. A single-page-app is a fully functional web application that loads all of the critical data up front, smartly leverages caching, and typically relies on APIs to fetch other data in response to user actions.  This is how we built our new JW Player publisher dashboard, using Angular.

JW at Scale: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Skew

JW Player introduced analytics as a major feature with JW6 in 2012. This allowed us to offer publishers insights into who was watching their content, including device, geo and video data. Adoption of JW6 exploded over the next 3 years, challenging us to keep up with the rapidly increasing data coming in each day. This article looks to explore a particular challenge we’ve faced in scaling our periodic batch pipeline for publisher analytics: key skew in Hadoop.

Issues scaling JW analytics

In May 2015, our publishers collectively reached 1.2 billion viewers watching 71k years of video. We receive multiple terabytes of raw data each day, plus many terabytes more of intermediate and final data we process in our various pipelines for publisher analytics, JW Trends and other projects. Keeping up with our growing publisher base and scaling our infrastructure is something we’ve worked hard on here at JW Player.

Geo-Blocking on JW Platform

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JW Player now offers geographic content restriction (geo-blocking) for videos hosted on JW Platform. This allows JW Platform users to control where their content is accessible. Users can choose to allow only a specific list of countries or to block a list of countries and allow all others.

Improving HLS on Android - JW Player SDK for Android 1.2 Released

Today we are releasing version 1.2 of the JW Player SDK for Android. This version focuses on improvements in performance, flexibility, stability, and adds the following features:

  • Faster HLS Video Startup. 5x faster adaptive HLS video startup with minimal buffering.
  • Improved HLS playback performance.