The Skip Intro Button, How Much Time is it Really Saving?
Let’s face it, binge-watching TV shows would be a lot less addicting if there wasn’t a “Skip Intro” button on most streaming service user interfaces. Gone are the days when you were forced to sit through a long TV intro before you could find out what happened following the cold open hook. This seamless viewing experience wouldn’t have been possible had Netflix not created this function back five years ago.
In a blog post, written by Cameron Johnson, Director Product Innovation – Studio Product Management at Netflix, engineers came up with the skip when they were thinking of the next big idea for the platform.
After having to listen to the “Game of Thrones” theme song again and again while playing episodes back-to-back-to-back, Johnson had an epiphany.
“I found the show so compelling that I wanted to skip the credits and jump right into the story, and I found it frustrating to try to manually jump forward to the just the right place,” he wrote in the blog. “Sometimes I would jump too far, and sometimes I would jump too short. I wondered whether other people felt the same.”
According to Netflix’s research, before the function was unveiled, 15% of the time users were manually skipping through episodes within the first five minutes, likely to avoid the opening credits.
When the streamer’s engineers first began testing this new feature all those years ago, the Skip Intro button was added to only 250 series on Netflix. After a ton of positive feedback and engagement, the feature was then added to all TV programming in August 2017 and then on mobile in May 2018.
Due to Netflix’s innovation, major streaming networks like Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Disney+, and others have adopted the Skip Intro button for their streaming content as well.
whoever invented the “skip intro” button at netflix deserves the highest accolade we as a society can bestow upon a citizen and it still wouldn’t be enough— Matt Bellassai (@MattBellassai) March 11, 2018
And don’t get us wrong, a lot of intros deserve to be on repeat, but think of how much time you’re wasting.
On a typical day, Netflix’s “Skip Intro” button is pressed 136 million times, according to Johnson. This function has essentially saved users across the world a cumulative 195 years since 2017.
In addition, research from Office Furniture Online discovered that if you skipped intros on every show you watch in a year, it could save you 30 hours annually.
To figure this out, the researchers collected a list of shows from Netflix’s “most popular” tab in 2020 and IMDB’s top-rated shows at the time. They then calculated the length of the shows’ respective intros and multiplied that by the number of episodes available to stream.
Here are the results:
The TV shows with the longest intros on the list were “Game of Thrones” at one minute and 58 seconds, “The Sopranos” at 98 seconds, and “Dexter” at 97 seconds. The English-speaking TV show with the longest opening credits of all time is “Twin Peaks” at 2:36.
So when it’s finally time to break for lunch, remember to factor in the skipped intro minutes when looking at the episode runtime. It could be the difference between watching one episode or two before having to get back to work.
Thanks to engineers at Netflix, skipping intros has given us back many, many precious hours of our lives that we can now use to stream even more content.