Netflix Users Love This Feature More Than Free Cupcakes

So says one engineer about 'Skip Intro' button, which platform says is hit 136M times daily
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 22, 2022 3:41 PM CDT
Netflix Users Love This Feature More Than Free Cupcakes
Stock photo.   (Getty Images/IAM-photography)

(Newser) – Without even thinking about it, Netflix users take part in a time-travel experiment of sorts as they watch movies and TV series. They do this via the "Skip Intro" button, which allows them to pass over the opening credits and into the meat of whatever they're viewing, and it's a fast-forwarding option that the streaming service says collectively saves 195 years every day, reports Insider. In a blog post by Cameron Johnson, the company's director of product innovation, he revealed that that cumulative time saved is the result of Netflix users hitting the "Skip Intro" button 136 million times a day. Johnson explains the "glimmer of an idea" for such a feature emerged about six years ago, when research showed that 15% of the time, users were manually fast-forwarding during the first five minutes of whatever they were watching.

"This gave us confidence that a lot of people wanted to skip the intro," he writes. There was a suggestion offered to create buttons that would allow users to jump either backward or forward within their shows in 10-second increments, but in terms of doing so during the intro, Johnson himself had a gripe. "I found it frustrating to try to manually jump forward to ... just the right place," he writes. "Sometimes I would jump too far, and sometimes I would jump too short." And so the "Skip Intro" button was born, which allows users to get to exactly the right spot without missing a single part of the opening scene.

Initially, the button was added to only 250 series in the US, UK, and Canada, but it saw "huge engagement from members," Johnson writes. He quotes one Netflix engineer as marveling, "I'm not sure that if you put a button that said 'free cupcake' that it would get more clicks than 'Skip Intro.'" Netflix added the button to TV by the summer of 2017, and it followed on mobile in 2018. What does it mean for you personally in terms of time saved? Office Furniture Online estimates each person who fast-forwards through the intro of every show they watch would save 30 hours a year. The Streamable notes other streaming platforms, including Hulu, Amazon Prime, and Disney+, have also added such an option. (Read more Netflix stories.)

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