In the Spring of 2016 one of our Product Managers, Cameron Johnson, approached me with an idea he had for allowing customers to skip the opening credit sequence of a TV show or movie. We had recently updated our mobile player to include skip forward and skip backward buttons and he suspected that the primary use for skipping forward was to simply get past the opening credits – especially while bingeing a favorite show.
We dove into our analytical data and found that about 15% of the time members were indeed manually advancing within the first five minutes of a show, which seemed to support our hypothesis.
On the surface, this might seem like a fairly straight forward feature to develop, but that would be deceiving.
- How should this element show up on the screen and what should it look like?
- What label/icon would help people instantly understand what action was going to be taken?
- Would our members understand what happened once the action was taken and – perhaps more importantly – would they trust that we took them to the right place in the show they were about to watch?
- How could we make this feature obvious, but not detract too heavily from the opening sequence if someone wanted to watch it?
To get the answers to these questions, we set up several one-on-one customer interviews and built prototypes that allowed customers to directly interact with our concepts.
Our early concepts included various labels for the feature including “Jump Past Credits”, “Skip Credits”, “Jump Ahead”, “Skip Intro” and simply “Skip” as well as various designs and transitions for displaying the element.
We saw exceptionally high engagement with well over half of our members making use of the new feature. We also received a lot of praise on social media. In a recent article titled Looking Back on the Origin of Skip Intro Five Years Later, Cameron mentions that, “…in a typical day, the Skip Intro button is pressed 136 million times, saving members an astonishing 195 years in cumulative time!”
For our members, it saved them time and allowed them to enjoy the movies and TV shows they love even more. For our business, this feature increased retention and had a very positive impact on some of our streaming metrics. It has since been adopted by many of the major streaming networks including Amazon, Hulu, Disney+, HBO, and more.
This was an incredibly popular feature and it ended up getting a lot of press coverage. Here are few of those articles:
- Netflix is testing a button for skipping the opening credits
- Netflix is testing a ‘Skip Intro’ button, and viewers love it
- Netflix’s ‘Skip Intro’ Button Makes TV Ever More Like an App
- Surprise! Netflix Just Rolled Out Another New Feature — & It Saves You So Much Time
- Netflix now lets you skip show intros while streaming via Chromecast
- Looking Back on the Origin of Skip Intro Five Years Later