Netflix: Looking Back on the Origins of the “Skip Intro” Feature, Five Years Later

It’s hard to imagine watching your favorite series today without skipping the introduction. on netflix, The “skip intro” button is used an average of 136 million times per daySaving subscribers 195 years of streaming time overall!

But six years ago, this ceremony was only a vague concept. At Netflix, we are always looking to improve our service. So the designers and I were looking to identify ways to help our customers get the most out of the Netflix experience. Sometimes, we’ll want to find a moment in an event that we particularly love—an incredible action scene, the final revelation we can’t believe—or a joke we just don’t get tired of.

The idea was to add a fast forward or rewind button in 10-second increments. The reason for doing the 10 second rewind was pretty obvious: It happens to all of us that we take a moment to lose sight of the distraction and miss a scene.

But why 10 seconds ahead?

You might want to skip the opening credits, of course. But other than that no one had any other valid reason.

that time i was looking game of Thrones Whose opening credits, as we know, are particularly long (and successful!), I liked the series so much that I wanted to chain the episodes without being interrupted by the credits, but it made me move on manually until the beginning. bothered to try. next episode. Sometimes I went too far, sometimes not enough. I wondered if other people feel the same frustration.

We did some research and found that about 15% of customers manually forward the show they are watching within the first five minutes. So it reinforced our view that a lot of viewers wanted to skip the introduction.

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Instead of developing a generic solution that can only partially meet various needs, such as a 10-second fast-forward function, we designed a solution dedicated to a single function that performs perfectly.

Our goal was to make this option as easy as possible while allowing customers who wanted to listen to the haunting opening credits music over and over again. The button should only appear on the screen at the appropriate time and act with a single click. (A little-known trick is to press the “S” key on the keyboard when the “Skip Intro” button appears on the screen, instead of using the mouse.)

To figure out what name to give to the button, we considered several options, including: “Skip Credits”, “Skip Credits”, “Forward”, “Skip Intro” or even “Skip Credits”. turn a blind eye”. We then tested the feature on a sample of randomly selected customers.

To fast-forward, we only added the button to 250 series (movies were not affected), and limited the experience to the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada only on the web.

Our very simple idea generated a huge mobilization of customers (who liked the term “skip introduction”) and was very well received on social networks. As one engineer joked, “I’m not sure ‘Free Cake’ would get more clicks than ‘Skip Intro’.”

We quickly added “Skip the Intro” to TV in August 2017 and mobile in May of the following year. the rest is history.

Over the past five years, it has been pleasant to see “skip intro” as a popular feature adopted by many other streaming services, bringing a small moment of satisfaction to viewers around the world.

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About the Author: Rusty Kemp

Tv ninja. Lifelong analyst. Award-winning music evangelist. Professional beer buff. Incurable zombie specialist.

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