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A study sponsored by content delivery network Akamai comes to the convenient conclusion that problems with video quality frustrate and deter users. But if you can get past the fact that it was paid for by a company that’s lost $3 billion in market capitalization in the last month and needs to prove its service is worth the money — and I fully understand if you can’t — there’s some interesting statistics here.
Forty-three percent of people who watch online video at least once a week said they would switch to a competitor if the quality of a site’s video was poor, according to the study, conducted by Jupiter Research on Akamai’s behalf and available for a free download if you cough up your contact info.
That finding is out of line with the commonly accepted wisdom at NewTeeVee that people prefer availability of content to quality of content — a conclusion drawn from the enormous popularity of YouTube and P2P file-sharing. However, many, like our fearless leader Om, are eagerly awaiting the day when video quality gets “an HD upgrade,” as he called it last week.
According to Jupiter, the biggest frustrations with online video are due to buffering, sluggish playback, and poor picture quality (see chart above). Survey participants also cited a preference for watching video on TV and a lack of time as deterrents for watching video online.
As for improvements to online video, those surveyed said they’d most like to see the viewing area enlarged, followed by a desire to download full video programs to their PCs.