Audiences today have an almost limitless amount of content to choose from which makes it increasingly challenging to capture their attention, writes Brian Rifkin, co-founder & SVP of Strategic Partnerships at JW Player.

According to Cisco, video will represent 80% of all internet traffic by 2021. That’s a pretty incredible statistic, but if we as an industry don’t prepare for this opportunity now, only a select few will be able to take full advantage.

Brian Rifkin

Brian Rifkin

Over the last decade, video’s unique combination of the visual and auditory experience has become a powerful force in the digital age. With dramatic improvements in the digital video experience – from broadcast TV-like speed to its ability to be accessed on multiple devices from your TV to your laptop to your phone – the medium has become exponentially more valuable for storytellers of every size.

Whether you are a global broadcaster, indie-documentarian, a brand or a small business, you cannot afford to ignore the potential of digital video to share your story. However, this incredible opportunity also comes with the intrinsic risk of being doomed to repeat history if we don’t learn from it.

I’m old enough to remember when the internet was viewed as the great democratiser of media. In many ways it has fulfilled that promise, but we have also seen independent publishers suffer at the hands of the advertising oligarchy of Facebook, Google, and (increasingly) Amazon.

These intermediaries have successfully been able to siphon away the audience, but more importantly the data from media companies and broadcasters around the world. The result is that brands and agencies have become reliant on these ‘walled gardens’ to reach massive addressable audiences.

Today, we are beginning to see a similar concentration for digital video, with the same intermediaries.

So what can you do?

The solution is twofold: first, make sure that, whether you choose to buy or build, your own video technology stack is able to capture and deliver all of the important engagement data from your content and audience.

Second, reassess how you’re using these platforms. It would be naive to think you can get off them in totality. But, by using them to promote your owned and operated video and advertising functions, you’ll be able to bring the power back into your hands.

At JW Player our mission is to put the power back into the hands of creators – from developers to entrepreneurs and content production teams. We believe that open and flexible APIs which allow for full access to the data you are generating not only helps clients but strengthens the entire digital ecosystem.

Today, video data is able to inform your content, advertising and marketing strategies. However, as video becomes almost the entirety of internet traffic within the next five years, this data will take on an entirely new meaning.

Today’s engagement and video data may inform a large portion of the business, but soon it will be the business. By building an open and flexible video tech stack which enables you to understand your data today, you can ensure that will control your own destiny in the years ahead.

Brian Rifkin is Co-founder and Senior Vice President of Strategic Partnerships at JW Player

IBC2018 JW Player will be exhibiting at IBC2018 on Stand 14.G16.