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Net Video: Lame Expectations

Say you just paid for a burger that tasted like a dirty sneaker. The bun was moldy. The tomato was a greenish-white. And there was a hair on it. Would you go back to the joint that had the nerve to serve it to you?

Akamai Technologies is touting a survey, which it paid for, of 2,319 online consumers that showed 60% of people who watch online video at least once per week are less likely to return to a site for video content if the viewing experience is "poor."

My first reaction: Uh-huh. They needed to pay for a survey to figure that out?

My second reaction was: Wait a second–what about the 40% of those surveyed who weren’t disuaded by the "poor" experience? Are they gluttons for punishment? Are they unemployed and happen to watch a lot of YouTube videos? Or do they simply have low expectations?

I got on the phone with Akamai senior product marketing manager Suzanne Johnson, who explained that in some cases, online video is available exclusively through a single site. "So people are going to struggle through it because they can’t get it anywhere else," she said. 

But, she insisted, a 60% audience drop-off is huge–the point being, lest you miss it, that Akamai’s content-delivery network is supposed to minimize the chance you’ll disappoint Internet-video viewers. 

To me, this survey more directly reveals that a lot people think Internet video is supposed to suck. 

And the results also underscore that a TV is the preferred device for video: 42% of those surveyed said they didn’t watch more online video because "I prefer to watch programs on TV"–the No. 1 response, followed by 29% who said they lack the time and 27% whose Internet connections were too slow.