JW Player Brings Its Video Player To Android Apps

JW Player, the streaming video company that (in the words of its president Chris Mahl) helps online publishers find “life after YouTube, or life beyond YouTube,” has made a big move onto mobile with the general release of its Android SDK.

The player already worked in mobile web browsers, so it wasn’t entirely absent from Android. But this will allow publishers to include the players directly in their apps, to customize its appearance, and to include video advertising.

The company raised a $20 million round last fall, and it’s also releasing some new stats about its growth, including the fact that its videos reached 1 billion unique viewers in December, with 94 billion plays (up 570 percent year-over-year) and 4 billion hours watched (up 640 percent). Revenue for its software-as-a-service business is up 130 percent.

CEO Dave Otten characterized the Android launch as part of its “JW Everywhere” strategy, where publishers can configure a single video player, then trust that their videos will play on any device. There’s an iOS SDK in the works, as well, but Otten said it made sense to start with Android, where the need is greater, given the variety of Android versions and devices.

“For lack of a better term, that landscape is a mess,” he said.

In the Android press release, ION Microsystems COO Maximiliano Emmanuelli describes the SDK as “a key part of our mobile strategy,” helping the company “deliver stunning HD travel videos from around the world.”

Mahl added that moving to mobile is helping the company reach a new customer base. Among the early testers, more than 60 percent didn’t have an existing JW Player license. He also highlighted the importance of the company’s geographic distribution and support, with early Android customers in Southeast Asia, for example.

The broader vision for the company (previously known as LongTail Video) is not just to provide a video player, but additional tools for recommending videos across the JW Player network and providing more transparency around ads.

“This is not just about millions of publishers working individually,” Mahl said. “How do they create collective energy for each other and for consumers?”