Building & Managing Playlists

Intro to Playlists

This article covers building and managing playlists.  It explains the types of playlists and how they are best used to showcase publisher content. Playlists are collections of content that can be used to create viewing & discovery experiences in the player or to build discovery experiences outside the player.

Main Playlist Types: Curated & Recommended

There are two main types of playlists that can be created in the dashboard:
  • Curated Playlists are ordered collections of video content created from human curation and tag based business rules. They are available to all JW Player users and are optimized for linear or episodic viewing experiences where viewer watches a sequence of videos in order.
  • Recommended Playlists are contextual collections of videos built to power content discovery experiences in-player and out of player. The JW Recommendations engine generates results in real-time in response to the completion of a specific video in-player or from a Media ID or keywords sent to the JW Platform API. 
    • For more information on content discovery and improving viewer engagement read “JW Recommendations”.
For more information about how playlists are displayed in a JW Player and the visual playlist UI, read "Discovery Overlay".
Playlists are a collection of content that can be played or displayed in a JW Player. Playlists can be created in the dashboard, built in the code of a player setup block, shown on complete via a tile UI interface, or created externally in an RSS feed, XML file, or JSON feed and referenced in an embed or used in OTT, Showcase, or mobile SDK apps.

In the JW Player dashboard, playlist creation & management happens in the Playlists section.

The following information is for Curated Playlists. For information about using the advanced playlist builder for recommended playlists please read "Building and Managing Recommended Playlists."


a view of the playlist list view

Curated Playlists: Manual, Dynamic, Trending

There are three types of curated playlists that can be created in the dashboard. They each behave differently, and the differences between them are important.
  • Manual playlists are populated by dragging & dropping videos into the playlist. Manual playlists don't change after they're created unless you change them, and they do not automatically get updated.
  • Dynamic playlists allow you to add tag rules and apply sorting logic to create a dynamic video set. For example, you can create a playlist that follows this rule: Include all videos that are tagged with 'Marketing'. If you tag another video with 'Marketing' after that, it would automatically be added to this playlist.
  • Trending playlists are available to customers who have activated JW Recommendations feature set. 'Trending' uses a proprietary algorithm that analyzes viewer activity to ensure that you don't miss out on content & viewing trends as they develop and shift over time.

Creating a Playlist

Click the 'Create A Playlist' button on the playlist list page to create a new playlist. A window will appear where you can select your playlist type.

Note: Make sure you have videos in your account before creating a playlist, or there will not be any content to populate it!

Once a playlist is created, you can view the detail page of that playlist by clicking the name of the playlist on the playlist list page.

Here is a screenshot of the detail page for a dynamic playlist (all playlist detail pages have a similar layout):

a screenshot of a dynamic playlist detail page

On this page, you can manage all aspects of a playlist, including:

  1. The metadata of the playlist, like its title and description.
  2. The playlist contents:
    • For Manual playlists, you control the contents by searching and adding new videos by dragging them from the search results. You also control the order of the videos by dragging them in place.
    • For Dynamic playlists, this means the rules for populating the playlist: tags to use, the sorting method and the maximum length.
    • For Trending playlists, you can add tags and specify a maximum length. The JW Recommendations algorithm will determine the order based on currently trending videos.

Publishing a Playlist

There are two ways to publish playlists from the dashboard. The simplest one is by publishing it in an existing JW Player from your account. Do this by hitting the red Embed button on the Playlist detail page. This will open a dialog allowing you to generate your embed code:

Here, you'll see the last player used to publish a video. If you'd like, select a different player you want to use. (Note: this is the same publishing flow outlined in our Basic Embedding article). Preview your playlist in the selected player before embedding by clicking the "preview" button.



The other way to publish your playlist is through a syndication RSS or JSON feed. This is a valuable way to make your video content available for partners to use, or for publication elsewhere. The RSS and JSON feeds for playlists contain all the metadata and media links needed to play your videos.

Both RSS and JSON feed URLs can be found at the top of the playlist detail page, with the exception of Trending playlists which currently only offer RSS formatted feeds.

For more about RSS and JSON Feeds, and how to embed them, read our article on external feeds.

More Playlist Demos

Check out our developer portal for more playlist-related demos.



If you have questions about what content can work in a JW Player embed, be sure to read about JW Player's supported formats and basic embedding.

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