According to Statista, 37 percent of TV viewers in the United States use streaming services such as Hulu, Netflix and Amazon Prime to watch digital video content on their TV. And while the video gold rush is heating up, media companies like Refinery29, AOL, Complex and Maker Studios are shifting towards becoming their own distributors in an effort to own a direct connection with the viewers. To do so, content owners looking to self-publish and monetize video have a few options when it comes to online video platforms (OVPs).
Among them Playwire, aFlorida-based company founded in 2011 that today unveiled a new player and design that not only enhances the user experience, but also puts more attention on the the company’s biggest differentiator — monetization.
“We’ve developed this video player to give our midsize publishing partners a competitive option for monetizing online video content,” said Jayson Dubin, CEO at Playwire (pictured, left). “We are connected to almost 150 different third party exchanges and networks allowing people to monetize their content. And really that is the most important thing.”
In addition to being plugged into the usual suspects on the ad serving side — LiveRail, Tremor, Rubicon, SpotX, etc — Playwire also has its own direct sales team that helps publishers monetize their video, as well as turn editorial content into video. This is a two-fold area where Playwire’s clients, like CinemaBlend for instance, have found extra value as the publishing world increasingly shifts to video-first strategies. Producing and editing video can be both cost and time intensive, but with Playwire, editorial can be converted into video within hours.
Part of Playwire’s new feature roll-out includes engagement boosting tech that gives users a better viewing experience and advertisers more flexibility in the ad units served.
“At a time when viewability is top of mind for publishers and advertisers alike, we designed this video player with two main points of focus: content and user experience,” said Jarrett Abello, technical lead of video at Playwire.
New to the product today, as outlined in a release, are:
New Playlist View: Instead of popping up in a separate box, the playlist is now a hidden drawer within the player that spans its entire width.
Updated Sharing Functionality: An updated sharing menu takes the form of a floating bubble on the top right of the player that intuitively appears as users interact with the content, allowing sharing functionality with Facebook, Twitter, email and more.
New Advertising Units: A redesigned “related videos” view includes a new ad unit within the player. After a video finishes playing, four thumbnails of additional, recommended videos appear along with one advertising thumbnail, opening up new inventory for publishers.
Enhanced User Experience: Including transparent elements to allow viewers to see content behind the player; intuitive controls that disappear when not in use; an expanding, interactive and smooth scrubber; and the ability to customize player skin to fit the design scheme of the publisher site.
While other players in the space such as BrightCove and JW Player are differentiating themselves by pushing against ad blockers and providing an open platform approach for professional and prosumers, respectively, Playwire is placing its bets on empowering publishers with more monetization ops and a superior video product.
“We are one of the few, if not the only platform, that is an end-to-end solution where we are actually providing ads while giving the infrastructure and support and, in some cases, even making the content for them. So JW may be the market leader, but we are very much in their field,” said Dubin.