Food for thought for TV producers: audiences aren’t necessarily watching your elaborate opening credits.
According to a blog post by Cameron Johnson, the streamer’s director of product innovation, in a typical day, the ‘Skip Intro’ button is pressed 136 million times, which he says saves viewers 195 years in cumulative time.
The button was first introduced on Netflix’s big screen app in August 2017, with mobile following in May 2018.
According to Johnson, the idea of introducing the ‘Skip Intro’ button came about while he and a group of designers were discussing how to help viewers skip forward or back by 10 seconds.
While the group had valid reasons for viewers wanting to skip back, they might have missed a joke or a big reveal, they couldn’t come up with a reason why they would want to skip forward, unless it was to get past the opening credits.
The team carried out some research and found that about 15 per cent of the time, viewers were manually advancing the series within the first five minutes. “This gave us confidence that a lot of people wanted to skip the intro,” said Johnson.
“Our goal was to make this option as simple as possible while also giving members flexibility if they want to listen to that catchy theme song again (and again),” he added. “The button should appear on screen only when needed and it should work with a single click.”
According to Johnson, the Skip Intro button was an immediate hit with Netflix viewers. “As one engineer put it, ‘I’m not sure that if you put a button that said ‘free cupcake’ that it would get more clicks than ‘Skip Intro,'” he said.