A Private Label YouTube Shows The Power Of Data Monetization
Forbes Business, December 12, 2014


JW Player, an NYC-based startup that provides an alternative video ecosystem for content creators, has an enviable advantage: data from hundreds of billions of sessions in which people watched videos on a wide range of devices all over the world. Today, JW Player announced the first version of its “Trends in OnLine Video” report, an analysis of what it has discovered from sifting through all of this data.

While this first version of the report has many interesting findings, and no doubt future versions will tell us more, to me the biggest takeaway is that JW Player provides a clear example of how to monetize a data asset. By following JW Player’s lead, companies both large and small can get all sorts of tactical advantages from both internal and external data, and ultimately create new products and services.

What the JW Player Trend Report Says

This first version of the report provides a baseline for a variety of aspects of how video is played. It provides answers to such questions as:

  • Where is video watched? (Desktop 77%, Phone 18%, Tablet 6%)
  • What are the most popular browsers? (Top five: Google GOOGL -0.30% Chrome on Windows 40%, Microsoft MSFT +0.00% Internet Explorer on Windows 15%, Firefox on Windows 13%, Apple AAPL -0.87% Safari on IOS 10%, Google Chrome on Android 6%)
  • What are the most popular video advertising servers? (Facebook’s LiveRail 37%, Google 13%, SpotXChange 12%)
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The data is based on 7.8 billion views in August 2014 and shows JW Player’s global reach, 80 percent of the impressions coming from outside the United States. The size of JW Player’s traffic is dwarfed by YouTube, which had 4 billion views a day in 2012, and likely many times more than that now.

But the point of JW Player is not that it as big as YouTube but that it offers content creators a better economic model. JW Player’s white paper, “The Future of Online Video: Multi-Channel Video Strategy”, explains how content creators can convert YouTube traffic to traffic on private sites to increase their revenue. While it would be hard to argue that JW Player is a YouTube killer, it does seem to offer content creators a way to control their own destiny and be more creative with respect to monetizing their content.

Asset Surveillance and Big Video Data

JW Player’s Trends report should be the beginning of a much richer exploration of its trove of data. Russell Walker, Clinical Associate Professor of Managerial Economics & Decision Sciences at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, pointed out several principles of data monetization at a recent session (Strategies for Monetizing Big Data) at the Teradata Partners conference. Walker’s idea of asset surveillance, for example, could be used by JW Player to monitor the quality of networks in various countries, or how tastes for content differ across the globe.


Russell Walker