YouTube endorses ultra-fast video consumption with “Jump Ahead” feature


YouTube has begun experimenting with a “Jump Ahead” button that would allow users to automatically skip to the best part of the clip. AI will decide what that is.

In the era of hyper-connectivity and the unforgiving digital battlefield, no one denies that the phenomenon of shrinking social media attention spans is real. Various studies have shown that the average attention span has been dropping – and fast.

Let it fall further, YouTube has seemingly decided. The Google-owned video platform is now trying out a feature that allows users to jump to the best parts of a clip.

“We’re running a very small experiment in the US for a Premium-only feature that combines user-watched behavior data and AI to help identify the next best point a viewer particularly wants to skip ahead to,” the on-camera host of the “Creator Insider” channel on YouTube said.

If a viewer is already double-tapping to skip ahead (10 seconds) on what is considered an “eligible segment,” YouTube will display a “Jump Ahead” button.

The button will then take the viewer to what the data and AI tells them is the next point in the video that the viewer “may be aiming for.” Last year, users could already press and hold on a clip for 2x speed but the option was removed later.

The channel is run by YouTube’s creator-facing technical team, so the experiment is definitely real. The feature will also be available to creators who are watching their own videos, even if they do not have YouTube Premium.

Sure, the experiment is small – but it can be significant because it will most likely be expanded. For instance, previously, YouTube introduced similar functionality in the form of a graph integrated into a video's progress bar that shows you the "most replayed" parts of that video.

Initially, the most replayed feature was similarly exclusive to YouTube Premium subscribers, so there's always a chance that, if proven popular and effective, “Jump Ahead” could become an all-access option in the future.

Still, even YouTube Premium alone is growing fast. In February, YouTube surpassed 100 million Premium and Music subscribers worldwide.

No surprises there – many decide to dole out a few bucks because they’re annoyed by oh so many ads. The new experimental feature is not available on free YouTube – presumably so that users wouldn’t skip past the money-making ads.

The platform made more than $31 billion in ad revenue in 2023. It has also reportedly targeted consumers using ad blockers. Early in 2024, users took to Reddit to complain about YouTube slowing video loading, presumably to target ad blocker users.


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