YouTube will now highlight the “most replayed” parts of videos in its web player and mobile apps. The feature was previously available as an experiment for YouTube Premium subscribers but is launching for all users today.
You’ll be able to identify the most popular parts of a video from a graph that appears behind its progress bar. Says YouTube: “If the graph is high, then that part of the video has been replayed often. You can use the graph to quickly find and watch those moments.”
Pretty simple! But, it’s interesting to think how this might split the attention of viewers — or, indeed, steer the work of creators, giving them yet another signal to identify exactly what viewers want to see (an aspect of the platform that some YouTubers say creates unwanted pressure).
The company is announcing the feature as part of a package of updates — some new, some not — that essentially work to splice up longer videos into more manageable and accessible chunks. These include a new way to loop parts of videos that launched last year but hadn’t formally been announced (more on that here), and an upcoming test for Premium subscribers that will let users “seek to the exact moment in a video that you want to watch” (though YouTube is not offering any more detail on how that works right now). These work alongside YouTube’s “chapters” feature, which also let creators break videos into chunks.
YouTube has established itself as the home of long-form video on the web, so it’s interesting to see the company trying to have its cake and eat it in this way. Yes, it’s got long-form video nailed, but now you can chop that video up into small, bite-size packages, or hone in on the most watchable clips! What else is a platform to do with TikTok on the horizon.