December 17, 2014
YouTube has confirmed a new feature that will play suggested follow up videos at the end of a viewed video. The video autoplay is currently being tested among a small percentage of users. Autoplay could replace YouTube’s current suggested video grid that appears at the end of every video. If well received by its users, autoplay is a tool that YouTube plans to use to feed content to those casual users that do not necessarily know what they are looking for on the video site.
“With more videos coming to YouTube every minute we’re always experimenting with ways to help people more easily find, watch and share videos that matter most to them,” said a YouTube spokesman, as reported by TechCrunch. The massive scale of YouTube’s content selection can often make it difficult for a user to decide which videos to watch.
Where others such as Spotify and Netflix have opted for more social oriented approaches to this issue, YouTube’s autoplay feature could be more similar to the TV viewing experience: seamless content, one video following another, and then another and so on.
TechCrunch notes that the autoplay feature is optional. Videos waiting in the queue are listed to the right of the page, below the disable button that permanently removes autoplay from the viewer experience.
Autoplay could potentially help YouTube compete with Facebook for viewers and ad dollars. Facebook has a similar feature that automatically plays videos appearing on a user’s newsfeed or timeline when a user scrolls over them.
Looking towards the future, YouTube may look to capitalize on autoplay as a way to insert more advertisements. “With video ads being a hot commodity these days, having a place where YouTube could insert an ad after a video as well as before the video effectively could double its inventory,” suggests TechCrunch.
How Facebook is Going to Battle with YouTube, Fortune, 12/16/14
Google Says Death Threats Don’t Trump Copyright, YouTube, Bloomberg, 12/15/14