News

POV: Instagram Launch Instagram TV

Background:

Instagram has launched ‘Instagram TV’ (IGTV), both a new in-app feature and standalone app. IGTV is set to rival YouTube and Snapchat as it joins the mobile-first video platforms.

Details and Implications:

Since being acquired by Facebook, Instagram has grown to five times the size of Snapchat, and now boasts 1 billion users. The launch of IGTV come five years after the launch of Instagram video. IGTV is positioned as a mobile-first video platform that will only serve vertical videos, unlike YouTube, which operates horizontally – and of course IGTV is mobile only.

Unlike, Instagram’s video feature, which only allows users to upload videos up to 1-minute as posts, IGTV will allow users to upload videos of up to 60 minutes if posting from larger accounts or verified accounts and uploading from desktop. Regular users will be able to post video between 15 seconds and 10 minutes long. The hope is that longer form videos will encourage users to stay in-app longer.

Brands including Nike, Gucci and Louis Vuitton are the early adopters for IGTV, promoting their video content on the service. Given the reach of Instagram it’s fair to say that it has the potential to be a significant competitor to YouTube as they compete to be the home for influencers and branded video content.

IGTV has the same features as Instagram (i.e like, comment, share, save and follow/subscribe features) so it will be intuitive to navigate for seasoned ‘grammers’. Content creators will also be able to provide links in their captions and descriptions, driving traffic elsewhere on the platform.

Currently, users can only search for specific users on IGTV, not for specific content genres. However, like Instagram, users are given customized recommended videos as IGTV connects users with broader interests, such as connecting personal relationships with interests.

Talking about the launch, Kevin Systrom, Instagram CEO, said: “There’s no ads in IGTV today…obviously it’s a very reasonable place [for ads] to end up.” The tried and tested model of first building up the service from both a creator and a viewer perspective, before then releasing an advertising platform, would seem to be a fair view of the future direction of IGTV.   

Summary:

The integration of IGTV into Instagram is set to rival YouTube and Snapchat. As we continue to see a rise in cord-cutting and younger generations bypassing televisions, IGTV has the potential to become the TV of mobile, especially with its vertical-only parameters. It may not (yet) be the new YouTube but it definitely offers users a place to consume great content on their small screens.

Further Reading:

Wired / The Verge / TechCrunch / DIGIDAY / Forbes