Google’s popular video site YouTube plans next week to begin offering
videos in 1080p format, a high-resolution HD video mode that offers superior
image quality geared for wide-screen displays.
“As resolution of consumer cameras increases, we want to make sure
YouTube is the best home on the Web to showcase your content,” Billy Biggs,
a software engineer at the video site, said in a post on the YouTube blog.
The new viewing option will expand YouTube’s HD mode beyond the current
resolution limit of 720p.
But the new format, oriented in a widescreen 16:9 aspect ratio, figures
to be a bandwidth-intensive way to view videos, so Biggs advised that it
won’t be for everyone.
“For viewers with big monitors and a fast computer, try switching to
1080p to get the most out of the full-screen experience,” he said.
Biggs said Google is working to re-encode videos that have already been
uploaded in 1080p, but were previously only available in the 720p HD
Support for the new format follows several moves by YouTube that aim to
improve the quality of the site and grow its legitimacy in the eyes of
Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) purchased YouTube in 2006 for $1.65 billion in what
at the time was the company’s largest acquisition. But it has struggled to
monetize the site, despite its soaring popularity. YouTube is far and away
the leading video site on the Web, boasting more than 10 billion views in
September alone, and accounting for about 40 percent of the total online
video market, according to comScore.
As part of its monetization push, Google has been aggressively pursuing licensing and
distribution deals with entertainment companies to bring their content
to YouTube and sell ads against it.
When the company reported its third-quarter earnings, Google executives talked up YouTube’s
promise as a fast-growing ad platform, claiming that 90 percent of the
marketers of AdAge’s top 50 list have run “successful” campaigns on the
They claimed that YouTube monetizes more than 1 billion views on its site
“YouTube is on its path to profitability in the not-too-distant future,”
Google CFO Patrick Pichette said in October.
Most recently, YouTube began experimenting with a new ad model, offering
users the option to click to skip a pre-roll ad and navigate directly to
their target video. The data about which ads users skipped and which they
chose to watch could provide greater insight into the ads’ effectiveness,
which in turn could drive up the rates YouTube can charge advertisers.