Last week, Instagram launched one of its most exciting and bravest features to date: IGTV.
Instagram co-founder and CEO Kevin Systrom made the announcement at a live event in San Francisco, first thanking the audience for Instagram’s global success – the app now has 1 billion monthly users. He went on to explain Instagram’s newest feature which can be found within the flagship app or be used separately as a standalone app. In his words,
“IGTV is different in a few ways. First, it’s built for how you actually use your phone, so videos are full screen and vertical. Also, unlike on Instagram, videos aren’t limited to one minute. Instead, each video can be up to an hour long.”
The launch of IGTV is path breaking in many ways. This is primarily a video application that caters to Instagram users (automatically) and mobile phone users. Unlike YouTube, the monopoliser of video platforms, the format of IGTV has been designed in such a way that it can only be viewed on a smartphone. While this could be seen as a limiting feature of the app, it also makes complete sense as a majority of individuals rely on their phones for watching just about anything – be it a 1 minute video, a 1 hour episode on Netflix or a feature-length film.
Content Creators & IGTV
IGTV holds a mine of opportunities for Instagram content creators. Following a similar format to that of YouTube, creators have their own channels on IGTV and will also have the channel show up on their account. For any creator who has always wanted to publish longer content straight from their Instagram account, this is a highly promising feature. A user also doesn’t have to search to start watching content from people they already follow on Instagram. Videos come up with others that a user might like based on their interests. One can switch between 'For You', 'Following', 'Popular' and 'Continue Watching' and can also like, comment and send videos to friends in Direct.
What About YouTube?
There have been many speculations about how this will affect the future of YouTube. As Facebook’s strategy is focusing more and more on video (think Lip Sync Live), other video platforms need to step up their game to compete. For the time being, YouTube still has an edge over Instagram as it is a much more familiar video platform and offers monetary compensations to its content creators by running ads. Currently, there are no ads running on IGTV.
It’s still very early days to know what IGTV is fully capable of. One thing is for certain, it is at the forefront of shifting people’s video needs completely to the small screen. As the number of content creators increase on IGTV, the quantity and quality of work is sure to move forward as well.
To watch the launch of IGTV from the live event in San Francisco, click here.