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Growing Viewer Engagement Tops List of Challenges Facing Digital Publishers

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(Image credit: Hub Entertainment Research)

NEW YORK—The key challenge facing publishers of digital video—whether they’re broadcasters, publishers or even creators of online courses—is finding a way to increase viewer engagement, according to a new report from JW Player, a video services platform provider.

Based on the findings of a survey taken in January, the report, “Digital Video Industry Insights for Media Companies in 2021,” says half of respondents identified increasing viewer engagement as their No. 1 challenge. Among TV and film sites, more than 75% said viewer engagement topped their list.

“With more digital media consumers online (especially since the pandemic), increasing engagement has become essential,” the report said. 

However, respondents noted several other key challenges. For instance, 54% of broadcasters identified reaching audiences on new screens and doing more with less as other key challenges. Forty-two percent of publishers saw insufficient advertising demand as a major challenge. Respondents from the eLearning sector said doing more with less was their top challenge, the report said.

More than half of the digital video publishers responding identified increasing video ad revenue as their top goal for 2021. The survey found that news and lifestyle media in particular are searching for ways to grow ad revenue, it said.

The pandemic has increased video viewing, and as a consequence brands are starting their own digital media outlets, including online learning courses and live fitness streams, it said. 

The report looked at what characteristics brands starting their own digital media outlets, especially those launching online courses, are looking for in  online video.  A total of 44% of respondents identified reduced video platform cost, 40% said ease of use and 30% selected scalability and performance of live video delivery, it said. (Respondents could choose more than one characteristic.)

“New media are looking for flexible and customizable APIs [Application Programming Interfaces] that can easily integrate within their existing content management software,” the report said, noting that APIs are enabling video players to be integrated with a brand’s web infrastructure.

The report is based on the findings of a survey of publishers, broadcasters, online course creators and other digital content producers conducted in January 2021. A total of 1,812 people responded, and 221 companies were represented. Of the companies, 51% were publishers, 14% broadcasters and 12% were online course creators.

More information is available on the company’s website