Building & Managing Playlists

Intro to Playlists

This article is about building and managing playlists.  It explains the types of playlists and how they are used to publish video content. 

The 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 based on human curation and tag based business rules. They are available to all JW Player users and are optimized for linear viewing experiences.
    • See below for more details on how to use each type: Manual, Dynamic, and Trending.
  • Recommendations Playlists are highly contextual & dynamic sets of videos built by JW Recommendations in real-time in response to specific video or keyword inputs. 
For more information about how playlists are displayed in a JW Player and the visual playlist UI, read "Discover Overlay".
Playlists are collections of content that can be embedded and played in a JW Player or consumed from an MRSS feed or JSON feed. Playlists can be created in the dashboard, built in the code of a player setup block, or from the JW Platform API. They are displayed via a tile UI interface or the 'Next Up' card in the player. They are can also be used externally in OTT, Showcase, or mobile apps.

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

The following information is for Curated Playlists. Read "Building and Managing Recommendations Playlists." for information about Recommendations playlists.

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 & ordered by dragging & dropping videos into a playlist. Manual playlists do not change after their creation unless you change them. Their order is set by either the dashboard UI or by the JW Platform API.
  • Dynamic playlists use tag rules and sorting logic you set, 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 later, it will automatically be added to your playlist and that video will be included during playback.
  • Trending playlists are available to customers who have activated JW Recommendations. 'Trending' uses a proprietary algorithm to find and surface content that JW Recommendations believes will be the most popular for your viewers. 
Important: Curated Playlists differ from Recommendations playlists because they can be embedded directly with a player and will play back sequentially until the final item each time the player is loaded. Recommendations playlists do not work in the same way and require a video input in order to understand the context of the recommendations. For more information read "Building and Managing Recommendations Playlists."

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):

On this page, you can manage many 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. You control the order of the videos by dragging them in place.
    • For Dynamic playlists, you can change the business rules populating the playlist: using the filtration by tags (or none), the sorting method, and the number of items in the playlist.
    • For Trending playlists, you can use tag filtration and specify a maximum length. JW Recommendations 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. 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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