“Skip Intro” Means Netflix Is Getting Ahead Of Some YouTubers With Show Flow

Yesterday I hopped on the mic for a podcast about show flow, which described show flow and detailed some examples of YouTubers struggling with it.  It’s also the reason why show flow is now a category on this blog.  🙂

Today I encountered the CNN Money article about the new Skip Intro button that Netflix is rolling out for binge watchers.  If you’re playing catchup with a TV or Netflix series you can now skip the “what some would call redundant” show openers.  🙂

It’s fun being right.  🙂

Television is a natural go-to for inspiration on how to make YouTube uploads for many of us multimedia types who goof around with it, but today we find TV in a rather defensive position compared to the classic shows most of us might have grown up with.  Even around the beginning of the “Flash Video Revolution” when YouTube finally found a way to make hosting video online into something other than a site killer via bandwidth costs we found TV shows adapting to the changing demands for show flow in the time slots.

Oddly enough, though I’ve been exorcising childhood demons so to speak via making fun of soap operas through allegorical spoofs like World Of The Nerd Couple, it’s actually the daytime soaps with their decades-long runs that illustrate the progression in approaches to television to reflect show flow the most.  Take As The World Turns for example, one of the shows that my sitters when I was little always had on when I got home from school (the more common one being Guiding Light in the 3:00 PM timeslot).  Not a lot of opener changes, but enough over the show’s 50+ year run to showcase quite a bit of things that TV has seen happen over the years that have forced changes to production material.

The rise of Web 2.0 video in the 2000s was just another nail in classic TV’s coffin.  It’s important to remember when watching this or other classic TV shows that VCRs weren’t a thing until the 80s, so big long intros helped you not miss when your show was coming on if you had to run into the living room or something or your clock wasn’t set right or you were running late.  Once on-demand options started to appear though, the big long show intro started to become something that wasn’t really needed anymore, except if one was trying to be traditional and hold on to the way things used to be.

As The World Turns reacted to this the most.  Note the last entry in the final years before the show was cancelled.  Just *POOF* the spinning globe and the show starts, since the people following the daytime drama scene probably already knew who all the actors were.  The declining revenue from daytime drama probably contributed to this as well, but I can’t really explain such a radical drop in complexity in the show intro without at least thinking of YouTube.

Likewise with credits at the end of these shows.  Prior to HDTV if you wanted to roll credits they had to be big and take quite a bit of time, but when HD became a thing not only could the credits shrink but they could be off to the side and not even take up the whole screen anymore, as we see today.

Just for fun, here’s that YouTube channel’s Guiding Light opening compilation video.  More revisions to watch, but I couldn’t mention this stuff without showing this as well.  You see more details fleshed out as the changing TV landscape prompted revisions of the production material, including some times where they got too close to fashion and fads and the intro became dated rather quickly, like when the show went Disco.  😀

For today’s YouTubers, show flow matters more than ever before.  Classic TV’s style might be a good thing to have fun with every so often, but it should be a phase that comes and goes.  Much has changed since the 80s and 90s, and even the 2000s with the rise of mobile devices and people “watching TV” on smartphones as they walk around cities or wait for buses/trains/etc.  Not since the introduction of the VCR has this landscape been this radically altered.

New landscape or not – it’s still workable for content creators today.  🙂

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