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JW Player, a video streaming and analytics platform for major enterprise and publishing companies, has raised $100 million in a series E round of funding from LLR Partners.
Launched in 2005, JW Player was initially an open source product which went on to power one of the early versions of YouTube. While JW Player is no long open source, instead being offered under a creative commons license for non-commercial use, it has emerged as one of the top digital video players, with enterprise and media customers such as Viacom, Zoom, Newegg, and Tag Heuer.
The New York-based company claims 1 billion people view a JW Player-powered video each month, spanning 2.7 billion devices.
According to data from the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), digital advertising revenue surged 12.2% to nearly $140 billion in the U.S. alone last year. Digital video advertising, specifically, saw the highest growth, rising 20.6% to more than $26 billion. To help, JW Player serves an HTML5 video player that enables companies to embed their videos (replete with ads) on any website, with software development kits (SDKs) for adding JW Player to their native mobile apps. Additionally, the company offers other tools such as “article matching,” which automatically inserts relevant videos into relevant online articles across the JW Player network.
Moreover, marketers and advertisers like to justify all those video and ad dollars spent, and optimize things to maximize the return on its investments — which is where data enters the fray. JW Player offers analytics to surface real-time video activity, such as which videos are proving most popular, as well as insights on how videos are performing across different platforms and devices.
Above: JW Player analytics
Prior to now, JW Player had raised around $46 million, and with its latest cash injection the company is now well-positioned to capitalize on a booming digital video market which has helped it attain “record video streaming growth and strong profitability” over the past year. Similarly, publicly-traded JW Player rival Brightcove saw its valuation triple in the 12-month period starting in March 2020 — the digital video economy, it seems, is thriving.
The latest funding also comes hot on the heels of JW Player’s first ever acquisition, after it snapped up Vualto last month to extend its reach into live and on-demand video streaming, including digital rights management (DRM). In the days after this acquisition was announced, JW Player noted a “material uptick and influx of sales,” particulary across Latin America and Asia-Pacific regions.
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