“I’m free for 30 minutes!”

“Your next video will play in 5… 4… 3… 2… 1…”
Ah! The plight of viewers in taking split-second decisions, locating the close button on the screen and tapping repeatedly to abort… Sounds familiar?

‘Autoplay’ feature in OTT Platforms, YouTube and other social media are designed to promote ‘user engagement’ or ‘binge watching.’ Then some productivity/meditation apps started giving warnings on excessive screen time to viewers. Now screen time can be tracked in operating systems itself (Digital Wellbeing in Android, Screen Time in iOS).

Surprise Me!

Screenshots of old TED mobile app featuring ‘Surprise Me!’

Many years ago, TED mobile app came up with a brilliant video discovery feature. It allowed users to set a duration in advance whenever they are free to watch TED videos. Then the app will play random videos without overshooting the set time duration. ROLEX was the sponsor of this playlist feature called ‘Surprise Me!

We should bring back this “I’m free for…” feature in all video/music/OTT playlists. Just give an order as follows.

“I have 30 minutes during the lunch break today. Show me a short film or a movie as a serial or a podcast or some pop music for that duration. Thanks!”

On second thoughts, I’m sure that somebody might have created these triggers in IFTTT ecosystem.

More power to the user!