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Beyond the Play Button: 3 Ways Video Players Bring You Closer

For decades, video was a one-way street: from the broadcaster to the viewer. But digital video has taken down those one-way signs and put viewers in the driver’s seat. Instead of a static mass medium, video is now an engaging, personal dialogue with individual viewers who increasingly get it however they like it—at their convenience, on their chosen device, and under their control.

Content providers: By understanding this shift towards personalized viewing, you have the opportunity to better engage with audiences, compete, and grow.

Building this individualized experience on all screens begins and ends with a data-driven video player. It’s the hub through which companies interact with viewers today.

A player is much more than images and a Play button. Beyond the screen and behind the scenes, an advanced player engine is like a traffic engineer on that two-way street, providing a great, differentiated experience while collecting rich data that helps companies answer complex questions like:

  • Why are audiences dropping off suddenly during my live sports broadcast?
  • What is the right content to recommend on my business news website, so viewers stick around longer?
  • How can I best adapt my content for mobile screens?

Both video content and ads can be tailored to individual viewers and then dissected and analyzed more deeply than ever before—meaning the opportunities for expanded monetization are stronger than ever, too.

To sum it up: We are on the precipice of truly personalized TV and video. Here are three ways today’s advanced digital video players will make it happen:


Data is the engine that drives any advanced video player platform. By analyzing data, you can learn about everything from viewer engagement across devices to the health of video streams and metrics on ads served. To make the most of data, you need a 360-degree view of video performance and the ability to collate multiple analytics sources. And, ultimately, you should be able to quickly take action based on data-driven insights.

For example, side-by-side access to audience and quality-of-service (QoS) metrics helps you monitor video performance and viewing patterns and respond in real time to any signs of poor stream quality or viewer drop-off during a live broadcast.

Also important: integrating the performance of multiple players across your network or website. In doing so you’ll have detail on how players may perform differently across various pages or formats. A/B tests can be run on a variety of player elements, such as autoplay vs. non-autoplay, player skin type, or the location of the player on a page, to see how each impacts video activity and revenue. Most importantly, pulling performance data from all of the players into one centralized dashboard with a video-centric view helps you make faster and more fully informed business decisions instead of siloed ones.

Additionally, player integrations with major analytics services such as Nielsen and ComScore enable you to fully measure results and maximize the revenue opportunity of every video.


Today, any video player has to provide a rich set of data that can help build a deeper relationship between content providers and audiences. Keep viewers engaged with your site (and not a competitor’s) by offering relevant content in an easy flow that keeps them watching “just one more” video.

The traditional approach to helping viewers find content was to offer recommendations based on editorial content selections, such as most popular videos by region, through a manual fixed playlist. Then, basic discovery engines came along to recommend videos based on simple content-based selections: If a viewer watched a tennis video, offer them tennis videos or videos from closely-related topics. Smarter discovery engines today make one-to-one recommendations, offering up videos that a viewer is likely to enjoy watching based on what other viewers with similar consumption patterns actually watched, such as travel or news videos, helping the viewer explore the content library in new ways.

Modern player recommendation engines help ensure you’re delivering the smartest mix of content to keep viewers coming back for more. Indeed, the Ooyala Q1 2015 Global Video Index Report looked at publishers around the world and found that viewers played their recommended videos up to 58 percent of the time.

Ultimately, more time spent viewing and more videos watched within a player means more ads served, more subscribers retained, or more repeat purchases. The result: a fatter bottom line.


56 percent of worldwide senior marketers in a recent CMO Council poll published by eMarketer said that higher response and engagement rates were the leading benefits to using enriched or personalized content and digital interactions.

Yet, a separate eMarketer report of a Demand Metric and Seismic survey found that 59 percent of U.S. marketers surveyed don’t personalize their content because they don’t have the technology to do it, and 53 percent said they don’t have the needed data.

Advanced video players can help.

They can serve alternate videos for different viewers based on their habits or device. Player support for dynamic ad insertion enables the placement of targeted ads within a live or VOD stream. As cognitive systems become more advanced, players will continue to step even closer to audiences, bringing them content based on mood or location. All of these things help people watch longer and generate more revenues as they do.

The future possibilities for personalization on the two-way street of digital video are simply endless.

Using an advanced video player is now critical for content providers looking to get ever closer to audiences, build revenues, and plan for a future where the world of video is literally in the hands of the viewer. It’s so much more than just hitting Play.

[Paula Minardi is a content strategy manager at Ooyala. StreamingMedia.com accepts vendor-contributed articles like this one based solely on their value to our readers.]

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