HD video has emerged as a strategic front for online video publishers in their battle for consumer interest, according to an IDC whitepaper sponsored by Akamai Technologies. IDC’s research indicates that consumers will gravitate to the highest possible online video quality they can reliably stream because better quality video improves their overall viewing experience, especially when it comes to entertainment.

The three key conclusions in the whitepaper are: publishers realize that offering HD video is crucial to remain competitive; smooth play and video quality are important for almost all online viewers; and HD quality video translates to improved user retention, longer viewing times and more monetization opportunities.

IDC indicates in the whitepaper that it expects total HD-related online video revenue in the United States to be at $2.2 billion per year by 2012. Consequently, offering HD video is expected to be of crucial importance for publishers in order to remain competitive by driving audience reach and traffic, as well as advertising revenue and content sales. It is believed that consumers and advertisers will only adopt HD video if a high level of quality can be maintained, both with regard to the video image and to the reliable streaming of that video.

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