Autoplay has become synonymous with publishers putting monetisation ahead of user experience. The leading browsers, Google Chrome and Apple’s Safari are taking steps to block videos that play automatically with sound on. Publishers will have to post videos that people actually want to watch by choosing to start them.
Publishers will insist their actions are ongoing and not in reaction to anything Google and its ilk are doing, but many have become more nuanced about their autoplay video usage.
Time Inc. has taken steps in the past year to more clearly label click-to-play videos on its sites including Real Simple and Travel + Leisure, with markers like play button icons or the word “watch.” With click-to-play videos, the publisher also has been testing GIFs that give the user a preview of the video itself before deciding whether to click.