JW Player, the independent platform for video delivery and intelligence, has revealed its predictions for the video industry in 2021.
“The pandemic heightened an already insatiable demand for video, and naturally brands and media companies want to capitalise on this demand,” said Dave Otten, JW Player CEO and co-founder. “Our player is live across over 12,000 leading media sites with over 20 billion video views per month. No other platform can match our scale across the web, or the insights we gain from our massive data footprint to help clients boost engagement, grow their audiences, and monetise their content with brand-safe, contextual ad targeting.”
JW Player saw adoption of their platform surge in 2020 as video consumption ballooned during the pandemic, with video watchtime more than doubling. Over the last year, JW Player gained over 850 new customers across diverse industries and regions including Baby First TV, Network N, Notts County FC, Classplus, Claro, Asianet and Zoom, who used JW Player’s new live streaming platform, Live Channels, to stream their Zoomtopia user conference to tens of thousands of viewers. As in-person events went virtual this year, Live Channels was launched to provide a simple workflow for media companies and enterprises to reach new virtual audiences and monetize their live streams.
JW Player also forged new strategic partnerships this year with ComScore, GumGum and Oracle Data Cloud to boost their contextual ad targeting and video monetisation capabilities.
“The end is near for cookies, and that means publishers will need to rethink how they monetise their content,” said Jeroen Wijering, JW Player co-founder and Chief Innovation Officer. “2021 will be the year where advertisers embrace contextual targeting not only as a replacement for cookies, but as a stronger alternative that meets consumers in the moment. You can also expect live streaming and other video content to expand in new industries next year, as brands seek to engage new audiences and open additional revenue streams.”
Expanding on these points, below are the key trends that JW Player envisions for 2021:
Contextual Targeting for a Cookieless Future
Google Chrome, the world’s most popular browser, will phase out third-party cookies by 2022. According to Google’s own data, this could reduce revenue for the top 500 publishers by 52 per cent on average. Brands will need to adapt to this cookieless future, and contextual ad targeting will be a powerful alternative. Rather than targeting ads based on what consumers have viewed in the past, advertisers can target ads based on the content consumers are viewing in real time. Analytics will play a key role in matching ads with relevant, brand-safe, and viewable content.
Live Streaming Growth Accelerates
In 2020, sports, fitness, and faith organisations in particular learned that live streaming can maintain and even grow audiences in the absence of in-person events. Even as in-person events return in 2021, live streaming will enable organisations to reach a wider audience and gain an extra source of revenue to recover from the financial hit of the last year. Monetisation can be stretched even further by generating highlight videos from live streams.
The Video-First Economy Takes Over
To keep up with the information overload and consumer preference for video content, every enterprise will need to rely on video to build brands, keep their audiences engaged and monetize their content. New entrants will turn to analytics to optimise their video for audience engagement and ad revenue, including tools to match relevant video content to existing written content. In addition to ad revenue, brands in industries such as education and fitness will look to create premium, long-form content monetized through subscriptions from loyal followers.
OTT Viewership Overtakes Linear TV
After the rapid growth of the past year, OTT is primed to overtake linear TV viewership in 2021. Even beyond the big five — Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, HBO and Amazon Prime Video — OTT will be the primary way that TV brands of all sizes will reach their audiences next year. TV brands with niche content and loyal followers are particularly well positioned to grow their audiences through standalone OTT apps. To keep up with demand, media companies will need frictionless, scalable workflows to publish content and optimise it with analytics.