[App Fridays] By turning YouTube videos into 'books’, Skippy helps you ‘read’ a 20-minute TED talk in 3 minutesHarshith Mallya
If you prefer reading to watching YouTube videos, then Skippy could help you ‘read’ YouTube videos.
Positioned as a time-saving player mainly designed for informative YouTube videos, Skippy’s USP is that it converts or condenses a 20-minute TED talk to make it a three-minute watch. Skippy does this by skipping straight to next subtitle, clip, or scene. By filtering out redundancies, it aims to convey information more effectively.
Skippy is currently available across four main categories: Social studies, Tech & Science, Art & Culture and Inspiration. The videos on the app are curated from platforms like TED, TED-Ed, Vox and Khan Academy. Since Skippy is free for the end user, the platform’s revenue model will likely involve a B2B angle, where it will drive traffic to their content creation partners.
YourStory reached out to the Skippy team for more inputs on their backstory, but was unable to get a response till the time of publishing this story. We will add an addendum, if and when they respond.
The platform currently claims to have over 1,000 videos in its collection and has between 50,000 and 1,00,000 installs at this stage. In the description on the Google Play Store, Skippy summarises their offering well. It claims,
“Skippy helps you ‘fast cut’ the videos at your own pace. Trust us, you never say TL;DW (Too Long; Didn’t Watch).”
TL;DW is a variation of the more popular slang term, TL;DR, which stands for Too Long; Didn’t Read.
How Skippy works
On logging onto Skippy for the first time, users are taken through a quick demo of how the app works. The main takeaway though is the fact that users can save time by ‘skipping’ or ‘thumbing’ through the video to get the gist, or skip the parts they feel they already know about.
Skippy’s home screen is fairly straightforward too. It lists videos under different categories and also keeps tabs on videos that users have already consumed. The top half of the screen includes a slider that focuses on some interesting categories, ranging from Entrepreneurship to Productivity and Relationships. Skippy also includes a search bar on the top right corner, which lets users access trending search terms and also search for specific keywords and access results across categories.
Once a user has picked a video they want to know more about, Skippy breaks it down into smaller chunks, which users can swipe and read through quickly. They can swipe up to read more about the video creators and also watch the video with real-time captions.
While the current playlists aren’t very extensive there, Skippy also claims to add new videos everyday. At this stage though there is enough content to keep users engaged for many days.
On the whole, while Skippy may not be able to completely match up the benefits of watching a video lecture in real-time, it gives casual users a taste of the experience and could also serve as a good revision tool for those who don’t want to re-watch an entire lecture again. For those accustomed to reading, it does reduce the time required to consume video content.
Modern technology has changed multiple industries ranging from transportation to e-commerce, but the impact on education could be considered to be the most life-changing. Many ed-tech ventures are now able to provide almost universal access to education and take education beyond classrooms. Players like Coursera, edX, Udacity and Unacademy are popular players in the Massive Open Online Course (MOOCs) space. In India, we also have ed-tech companies like Byju's and Toppr that are looking to make learning more adaptive and personalised.
Then we have players like Blinkist and Skippy that are building on top of content creators and looking to help learners optimise on time. While Blinkist aims to summarise non-fiction books into audio and text summaries, Skippy is looking to go after the market that prefers ‘reading YouTube videos’ to plugging in earphones and watching them.
You can download Skippy here for Android devices.