YouTube now highlights the “most played” parts of videos in its web player and mobile apps. The feature was previously available as an experiment for YouTube Premium subscribers, but is rolling out to all users today.
You can identify the most popular parts of a video using a chart that appears behind the progress bar. YouTube says, “If the graphics are high, that part of the video has been repeated many times. You can use the graph to quickly find and observe those moments.”
Quite easy! But it’s interesting to think about how this might divide viewers’ attention – or actually direct the work of creators, giving them another signal to identify exactly what viewers want to watch (an aspect of the platform, by which some YouTubers say is unwanted print).
The company is announcing the feature as part of a package of updates – some new, some not – essentially designed to break down longer videos into more manageable and accessible chunks. These include a new ability to repeat portions of videos that launched last year but weren’t officially announced (more on that here), and an upcoming trial for Premium subscribers where users can “search for what.” exactly moment in a video you want to watch” (although YouTube doesn’t currently offer any further details on how this works). These work in tandem with YouTube’s “Chapters” feature, which also allows creators to split videos into blocks.
YouTube has established itself as the home of long-form video on the web, so it’s interesting to see how the company tries to have its cake and eat it that way. Yes, it has long form videos, but now you can break this video down into small, bite-sized chunks or hone in on the best clips to watch! What else has a platform to do with TikTok on the horizon.