Video playlists allow content owners to categorize their videos to create regular, dynamic, or live playlists to support on-demand or simulated live playback for viewers.
Playlists can be enabled on both the Watson Media channel page and embeds. You can set the visibility of different playlists on the channel pages by adjusting the following settings in the channel page settings under Playlists.
Channel level playlist visibility
Playlists can be enabled for the channel in Channel page settings / Playlists:
To hide / show the playlists on a Watson Media channel page, click Settings under Channel page settings and deselect the box. Switching off playlist visibility will do so for the entire channel, but any scheduled live playlists will not be impacted.
When switching off playlist visibility for the entire channel, a message appears for you to consider if there are any playlists scheduled for live; it will go live regardless of this setting:
Visibility on a per playlist basis
When editing a playlist, you can decide if the playlist will be seen on Watson Media channel pages or not. If this is switched OFF, the playlist will not show up under the Playlist tab in the channel page.
Also, one more thing to note here is that if you chose to schedule a playlist, then publishing the same playlist won’t be possible. To publish a playlist and make it visible for your viewers, you need to unschedule it first.
Playlists page in the dashboard
The Playlists page will show a list of all of the created playlists for the selected channel.
Data displayed about playlists
1. Video thumbnail column:
- Thumbnail. This is the thumbnail of the first video in the playlist. You can re-order the videos in a playlist. The thumbnail is the first video’s thumbnail but this changes if a new video comes to the top of the dynamic playlist.
- Number of videos in the playlist
2. Title column (sortable):
- Title of the playlist
- Length of the playlist. This is the sum of the videos’ length in the playlist.
- Manual playlist: In a manual playlist, you can add and order videos manually in a customized order.
- Dynamic playlist: In a dynamic playlist, you can specify a search criteria based on video metadata so that only similar videos will appear in the playlist.
*Note: ONLY Manual playlists can go LIVE.
- Other tags can also appear here in the title column:
- 'Scheduled' can be applied only to a Manual playlist and will show that the playlist is scheduled to go live in the future.
- 'Broadcast ended' appears for playlists that were scheduled and went live sometimes in the past.
3. Created & Updated (format: ‘Month dd, yyyy hh:mm AM/PM’ ‘timezone code’) - sortable
- Playlist is LIVE NOW: if a playlist is currently live, you will see an indication with a LIVE icon and Stop broadcast option. Clicking 'Stop broadcast' will end the broadcast immediately.
The currently LIVE playlists are always on top.
- Also, when playlist is being started (going live), there is a 'Starting broadcast' indication and next to it a Cancel option that gives you additional control to the event in case you need to cancel the playlist from going live at the last minute.
- Scheduled to go live Month dd, yyyy hh:mm AM/PM timezone code - playlist will go live at the given time
- Broadcast ended on Month dd, yyyy hh:mm AM/PM timezone code - playlist was live and ended at the time that is indicated
- Listed on channel page and in embeds - this is displayed if playlist is set to be visible on channel page and in embeds. Learn more in the Enabling playlists in channel page and in embeds section.
You can easily filter for scheduled, unscheduled playlists or the playlists that went live (‘Broadcast ended’) by using the quick filter boxes next to the Create playlist button.
This can be very useful for you to view all types of playlists.
Creating the first playlist
Click on the Create playlist + button in the upper right to create a playlist.
In the Create playlist page, add the title of the new playlist.
This will determine what kind of playlist is set, either manual or dynamic.
*NOTE: the type cannot be changed later. Once you’ve added a playlist with a type: manual, you won’t be able to turn it into a dynamic playlist, or a dynamic playlist cannot be turned into a manual playlist.
This will determine if the playlist will appear in the channel page.
*NOTE: whenever you chose to schedule a playlist, then publishing the same playlist won’t be possible. To publish a playlist and make it visible for your viewers, you need to unschedule it first.
Scheduling a playlist will allow you to set a specific time when the playlist will playback LIVE.
Adding videos to playlist
- The Add videos button opens the Select video modal where you can start searching for a channel’s videos and selecting the appropriate videos to add to the playlist. By default, all the channel’s videos are displayed here – newest are displayed on top.
- You can click on Select all or Deselect all options right above the video list to add all the channel’s videos to the playlist or remove all the selected ones from the playlist.
*NOTE: you can add up to 200 videos to a playlist.
- Click on Add – this will add the selected videos to the playlist and at the same time close the Select video modal, you return to playlist’s edit page.
Searching for and sorting videos in Add videos modal
A channel’s videos can be searched by their title in the search box:
*NOTE: you need to type in at least 3 characters for the searching to start.
Videos can be sorted by:
- Newest videos (newest on top)
- Oldest videos (oldest on top)
- Title A-Z or Z-A (where you sort videos alphabetically ascending or descending)
*Default sorting is Newest on top.
Video details in video list
Following data are displayed about a video in Add videos page:
- Video date
- Status: unpublished (if a video is published then no extra tag is added)
- Selected (tick icon): shows if a video is selected for the playlist
Videos section in Edit playlist page
In the Videos section you can:
- see how many videos have been added to the playlist
- see how long the playlist is (calculating based on videos’ length in the playlist)
- reorder videos (by dragging & dropping those)
- duplicate a video
- remove a video from the playlist (no worries, the video won’t get deleted from the channel).
- open up a tool tip on Unpublished tag and learn that these videos will only play if you go live with the playlist
Scheduling a manual playlist
If you see 'Please initiate a test broadcast' message when scheduling a playlist, it means that no truly live (encoder based) broadcast has ever been done on the channel. This can be done easily using either our IBM Video Streaming mobile app or any encoding software or hardware.
Playlist’s start time (and time zones)
When scheduling, it needs to be considered that the scheduled time that is shown is in YOUR current, local time zone. Your timezone is indicated under the schedule date field. In the below example (in the screenshot), if an audience is located in New York, it means that the playlist will start at the local time in New York at 11:00 AM that day.
If another channel manager who is eligible to edit the same playlist is located in New York, they will see the scheduled date and time in their local time zone.
If playlist schedule conflicts with another scheduled playlist or live broadcast, an error message will be shown; you need to solve this conflict before proceeding. As the conflicting playlist’s title is also shown, you can mitigate the conflict either by rescheduling the other conflicting playlist or the one that you are currently creating.
If loop broadcast is enabled, it means that the show is not over when playlist ends, it restarts the videos added in the playlist again and again until the looping stop time.
Scheduling playlist to go live
Wherever you are within the Video Streaming Dashboard, you can always access 'Go live with a playlist' in the menu of the camera icon in the top right corner:
When you click on Go live with a playlist, it takes you to the Playlists page where you can schedule any manual playlist to go live.
You can also use our Live playlist API to go live with a playlist immediately.
Creating a dynamic playlist
When creating dynamic playlists, videos are not ordered manually but instead defined by a search criteria where matching videos will be added to the playlist automatically. This is a very convenient way of maintaining playlists, as the search criteria is pulled only once.
It is very important for you to properly tag and classify videos when it arrives into the platform (be it an autorecord or an uploaded content), and it will be added to the playlists accordingly – if applicable.
*NOTE: the type cannot be changed later. Once you’ve added a playlist with a type: Dynamic, you won’t be able to turn it into a manual playlist, or a dynamic playlist cannot be turned into a manual one.
The search criteria can be defined based on video metadata. Based on title or description as the pre-defined metadata or based on any custom metadata that you set up for the videos.
*NOTE: the search criteria is case sensitive; you need to be careful when defining the criteria for the dynamic playlist. For instance ’learning’ is not the same as ’Learning’ here.
According to the selected metadata, you will be able to define the value that is needed for the actual search criteria:
The video metadata can be checked under the video settings:
Videos can be defined and sorted within the dynamic playlist section (newest or oldest first) and can also be previewed.
How many videos can be added to a playlist?
You can add 200 videos to a playlist at most.
Can I add videos to my playlist from a different channel?
No, videos can only be selected and added from the playlist’s channel.
Why is ‘Select all’ inactive in Add videos page?
You can add at most 200 videos to a playlist. If the video list (according to searching parameters and channel’s videos) contains more than 200 in the list the ‘Select all’ option is inactive, because if you’d select all videos in the list it would exceed the 200 limit.
What does it mean if a scheduled playlist is listed on channel page and in embeds? Will that be visible before it is broadcasted?
No, it won’t be visible. In terms of a scheduled playlist, it will only be visible on the channel page's Playlists tab if you manually unticks the schedule option in playlist edit mode after the broadcast.
Please note that, if a playlist is visible in channel page, only the published videos will be played, the unpublished ones are not visible (and so playable) for the viewers.
Can I make a playlist available for viewers after its live broadcast?
It is very easy to make your live playlist available on the channel page after an event: just publish all the videos within this playlist after the event is over so the playlist will be available in the channel page without any further actions.
Will unpublished videos play if playlist goes live?
Yes, and unpublished videos can appear on the channel page only in this scenario (when playlist goes live) otherwise if you want your videos to appear in a playlist on the channel page, you need to publish them.
How can I maximize viewer experience for a scheduled playlist?
Same quality settings for videos within a playlist
Elements added to the live playlist optimally should carry the same settings and properties. This includes, but isn't limited to, the followings:
- same available CC languages,
- same video resolutions (quality)
- multi-audio settings
- and codecs (for uploaded videos)
While mismatching specifications may still allow the Live Playlist to broadcast without playback issues, viewers connecting to the feed will only be presented with UI options corresponding to the video playing at the moment of them tuning in. The Video Player does not adjust its UI for various alterations during switching videos on a Live Playlist, hence mismatching CC or quality settings may make certain seemingly available options non-workable when clicked.
WLC and CC conflicts
To retain the original Closed Caption functionality please refrain from switching on WLC for the channel. As the Live playlist will makes use of existing CC where available and switching on WLC will result in creating closed captioning on the live feed but will also disable any previously available CC.
What if my playlist doesn't go live in the scheduled time?
It might happen that there hasn’t been any truly live (encoder based) broadcast on the channel in which the playlist is scheduled to go live. Read the IMPORTANT reminder about initializing a live broadcast section. What you can do here is canceling the start of the playlist (Dashboard / Playlists / next to the playlist that is trying to go live there is an option to cancel) and then quickly scheduling it again to start in a few mins, it might solve the problem with the actual playlist but you still need to go and broadcast from an encoder on the channel later.