Now into it's tenth year, YouTube has intense pressure placed on it to begin posting a profit. Experts estimate that this new feature, which mimics TV-watching habits, will increase video watch-time by 20%, in turn increasing the potential for ad revenue. For YouTube marketers that means an opportunity to increase the viewership of related video content.
With What's Next YouTube aims to draw viewers who typically come from other social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter and aren't necessarily intending to watch more than one video, but may do so if there is less lead time in between the two videos.
Historically the auto-play feature has been opposed by viewers who find the sound annoying, but recent sentiments have begun to change as platforms like Facebook, Vine and Instagram introduce the function to their videos, albeit with the sound turned off. Twitter has also contemplated using autoplay for videos as well.
The new feature may be available to all users by June 2015.