Sneak Peek: Intelligent Thumbnails

An example of extracting topic metadata and isolating the best thumbnail image based on a neural network


Here at JW Player, we power nearly half a billion video plays per day.  With billions of signals about what viewers are watching, we are able to develop tools and unique insights to help our customers build larger, more engaged audiences and provide more effective monetization. To that end, we’re working on some exciting new products here at JW Player that leverage this data, and today I’m thrilled to share a sneak peek of one of them: Intelligent Thumbnails.

Why Thumbnails?

A thumbnail image is one of the most important assets relating to your video. The thumbnail image plays an essential role in attracting attention to your video and enticing viewers to click and watch your content. Historically, in order to have a compelling thumbnail image, you would have to create and upload custom images manually for each and every video in your content library, which is time consuming and expensive.

How does it work?

Intelligent Thumbnails, on the other hand, use proprietary Deep Learning AI technology to automatically choose the best thumbnail for your video. This system uses context-aware algorithms that look for specific characteristics within the frames of the video and automatically select the best thumbnail image.

More specifically, our algorithm scans your video and selects a series of candidate frames based upon characteristics trained by our massive data set. Our algorithm is trained to look for images that are sharp, have balanced brightness, have objects with proper framing within the shot, have people and faces, and have items that are relevant to the subject metadata. We then pass the candidate frames through the neural network and select the highest scoring image as your new thumbnail.

What is the customer value?

This is important because your video’s thumbnail is the first impression your viewers get of your content. A thumbnail image can mean the difference between a viewer watching your video (and ideally staying for more!) or going elsewhere. Needless to say, it is critical to have a strong thumbnail image.

Using Intelligent Thumbnails to select the best image for each video in your library saves time, but more importantly it can increase audience engagement with your content (which can result in an increase in engagement and ad revenue).


Like to give it a try? This feature is currently in private beta. Please contact your JW Player account services or sales representative to learn more.