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Video: User Experience, Branding, and Content Monetization
JW Player's Eric Boyd and Streaming Media's Tim Siglin discuss streaming players and delivering a consistent end user experience in this interview from Streaming Media East 2017.
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Tim: Welcome back to streaming media east 2017. I'm Tim Siglin, contributing editor of Streaming Media magazine and Media Strategy Principal at Reel Solver Inc.

Today I've got with me Eric Boyd from JW Player. Eric, go ahead and introduce yourself to the audience.

Eric: Hi everybody, my name is Eric. I'm the Director of Product at JW Player.

Tim: So tell me what Director of Product means, because I think a lot of us who've known JW over the years, both the person and the product, always looked at it as a labor of love you didn't really see behind the curtains, but I remember JW saying years ago he got funding, so obviously it grew, he had to move to New York. Now you're giving me a formal title for JW. So what do you do and why is it important to us?

Eric: Sure. So I started JW Player about four years ago. We had about 30 people in the company. We're at 175 today and the director or product title comes from ... I'm a product manager with our video player. So the player you know about and you're talking about here. On my team I have two other product managers. One that focuses on the core user experience of the player and the other for the core advertising aspect of video playback.

Tim: And speaking of user experience, were doing a panel a little bit later today. You'll be on the panel to talk about user experience. How important is it for the companies to make sure that there's a proper user experience for a variety of users on a variety of devices?

Eric: It's very important. It comes actually a lot from the founding of our company, when he created it. He's got design background, users are always the number one thing that we think about. Publishers end up buying our technology and using it on their websites because the user experience. Users can use it, they press play, they get video as soon as possible. So it's important for them because the faster they get the video, the easier it is for their viewers to use. It just allows them to monetize that content a lot easier.

Tim: One thing we'll talk about on the panel that I want to give people a sneak peek on is how important is it to have a consistent user experience across multiple devices? And how does JW sort of handle that?

Eric: It helps build brand recognition. You don't want to have a video player that looks and feels different from your desktop to a mobile device. You want to come in and you want to recognize what that play button looks like. You want to make sure that not just the design and the interface is the same, but the core aspect of being able to get that video to start up as fast everywhere. Every device brings its own challenges and we try to normalize that experience.

Tim: And then you mentioned advertising as one of the other project management subsets. I think, again, most of us thinking back to the past, JW had primarily a player that was antithetical to advertising, but obviously if you've got a project manager, advertising is key at some level. Talk to me about that a little bit as well.

Eric: Sure. So we see video is growing everywhere, not just in the walled gardens like Facebook, YouTube. Publishers all over the internet are growing their audiences with video, and they want to be able to monetize those audiences. So video advertising is huge. By 2018 there's going to be at least 18 billion dollars being spent on online advertising. So there's a lot of money there, and so for video advertising, a lot of the same core user experience that you get from the regular video player has to work for those video ads as well.

Tim: Right, very good point. And as a matter of fact, a press release went out this morning saying that they were moving actively against what they called illicit advertising inventory, so it's a big deal. Clearly they want to make sure that there's compliance with the standards as well as ... In terms of those packages.

So what are the things that, with JW, people can expect to see if they come to the event?

Eric: It's a lot of really good conversations. We have some panels that are mostly built up of publishers. We have a publisher track and we also have an advertiser track.

Tim: Oh, very good.

Eric: So, they're just conversations about where we see the industry today, where we see the industry going, and we have some breakout panels as well that have ... Little bit more focused on data and analytics, best practices in online advertising, best practices in user experience, is what I'll be talking about as well.

Tim: Sure. Very good. And I think, finally, you all have over the years put out the state of HTML 5. Is that continuing? Do you see increased adoption at HTML 5?

Eric: HTML 5 is the way that we see the future going as far as progressive web apps and even moving towards them away from SDKs.

Tim: Okay, interesting. Eric, thank you very much for your time.

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