Brightcove Player Sample: Most Watched Videos in Playlist

In this topic, you will learn how to use the Brightcove Player catalog to return the most played videos in an account and display them in a playlist.

Player example

In the following example, you will see the player with a playlist appearing to the right. The playlist is populated by retrieving the most popular videos, based on most number of plays, using the Brightcove Player catalog.

See the Pen 18175-most-watched-videos-playlist by Brightcove Learning Services (@bcls1969) on CodePen.

Source code

View the complete solution on GitHub.


This example returns the most viewed videos from your account using the Brightcove Player catalog, which accesses the Playback API. It is similar to the Popular Videos Playlist sample, which uses data from the Analytics API. There are few differences to keep in mind:

Brightcove Player catalog (Playback API)

  • The plays_total field is the all time video views for a video.
  • You can use the catalog.getSearch() method to easily retrieve data from the Playback API.

Analytics API

  • If you don't specify the from parameter and value, the default is the past 30 days.
  • To retrieve the same results from the Analytics API that you would get from the Playback API, use the ?alltime URL parameter in the API request.

Using the CodePen

Here are some tips to effectively use the above CodePen:

  • Toggle the actual display of the player by clicking the Result button.
  • Click the HTML/CSS/JS buttons to display ONE of the code types.
  • Later in this document the logic, flow and styling used in the application will be discussed in the Player/HTML configuration, Application flow and Application styling sections. The best way to follow along with the information in those sections is to:
    1. Click the EDIT ON CODEPEN button in the CodePen and have the code available in one browser/browser tab.
    2. In CodePen, adjust what code you want displayed. You can change the width of different code sections within CodePen.
    3. View the Player/HTML configuration, Application flow and/or Application styling sections in another browser/browser tab. You will now be able to follow the code explanations and at the same time view the code.

Development sequence

Here is the recommended development sequence:

  1. Use the In-Page embed player implementation to test the functionality of your player, plugin and CSS (if CSS is needed)
  2. Put the plugin's JavaScript and CSS into separate files for local testing
  3. Deploy the plugin code and CSS to your server once you have worked out any errors
  4. Use Studio to add the plugin and CSS to your player
  5. Replace the In-Page embed player implementation if you determine that the iframe implementation is a better fit (detailed in next section)

For details about these steps, review the Step-by-Step: Plugin Development guide.

iframe or In-Page embed

When developing enhancements for the Brightcove Player you will need to decide if the code is a best fit for the iframe or In-Page embed implementation. The best practice recommendation is to build a plugin for use with an iframe implementation. The advantages of using the iframe player are:

  • No collisions with existing JavaScript and/or CSS
  • Automatically responsive
  • The iframe eases use in social media apps (or whenever the video will need to "travel" into other apps)

Although integrating the In-Page embed player can be more complex, there are times when you will plan your code around that implementation. To generalize, this approach is best when the containing page needs to communicate to the player. Specifically, here are some examples:

  • Code in the containing page needs to listen for and act on player events
  • The player uses styles from the containing page
  • The iframe will cause app logic to fail, like a redirect from the containing page

Even if your final implementation does not use the iframe code, you can still use the In-Page embed code with a plugin for your JavaScript and a separate file for your CSS. This encapsulates your logic so that you can easily use it in multiple players.

API/Plugin resources used

Player API Methods

Player/HTML configuration

This section details any special configuration needed during player creation. In addition, other HTML elements that must be added to the page, beyond the in-page embed player implementation code, are described.

Player configuration

No special configuration is required for the Brightcove Player you create for this sample.

Other HTML

When using the Advanced (in-page embed) player, you need to add an HTML element to specify the location of the playlist. For details, see the Implementing Playlists document.

<div class="vjs-playlist"></div>

Remember to add the id attribute to the video-js tag in the player embed code.

<video-js id="myPlayerID"

Application flow

The basic logic behind this application is:

  • Define the search parameters
  • Get the video objects
  • Load the playlist

Define the search parameters

Find the code which is labeled:

// +++ Define the search parameters +++

When using the catalog.getSearch() method, you must first define the search parameters. This query will return 10 videos from your account, sorted in descending order by all-time video views (plays_total).

Since we are searching videos in our Video Cloud account, we must use a search-enabled Policy Key.

Get the video objects

Find the code which is labeled:

// +++ Get the video objects +++

Retrieve an array of video objects based on the search parameters for the catalog.getSearch() method.

Load the playlist

Find the code which is labeled:

// +++ Load the playlist +++

Use the playlist() method to load the returned video objects into the player's playlist.

Application styling

CSS is used to style the player and playlist.

Plugin code

Normally when converting the JavaScript into a Brightcove Player plugin nominal changes are needed. One required change is to replace the standard use of the ready() method with the code that defines a plugin.

Here is the very commonly used start to JavaScript code that will work with the player:

videojs.getPlayer('myPlayerID').ready(function() {
  var myPlayer = this;

You will change the first line to use the standard syntax to start a Brightcove Player plugin:

videojs.registerPlugin('pluginName', function(options) {
  var myPlayer = this;

As mentioned earlier, you can see the plugin's JavaScript code in this document's corresponding GitHub repo: most-watched-playlist.js.

Using the plugin with a player

Once you have the plugin's CSS and JavaScript files stored in an Internet accessible location, you can use the plugin with a player. In Studio's PLAYERS module you can choose a player, then in the PLUGINS section add the URLs to the CSS and JavaScript files, and also add the Name and Options, if options are needed.