The Introduction of IGTV: The Next Generation of Video
Mobile-first. Simple and intuitive. Quality, curated content.
These are the pillars of Instagram’s newest feature: IGTV, a new app to watch long-form, vertical video from creators around the world.
Image via IGTV Announcement
Arriving exactly five years after the launch of video on Instagram, the release of IGTV came alongside the announcement that Instagram will allow users to upload videos up to ten minutes in length to this new placement, a departure from the one minute limit that is in place for in-feed videos. Larger accounts and verified accounts can upload videos up to 60 minutes long, though they must be uploaded from a computer. In addition to the standalone app, users can also access IGTV from inside the Instagram app, giving this new platform a pre-established audience of one billion monthly active users.
IGTV is built for how individuals use their phones – full screen and vertically – and it is as easy as turning on a TV. As soon as the app is opened, videos begin to play without needing to first search for something to watch. Instead, you will be met with content from people you already follow on Instagram along with other curated content based on your interests. Users can swipe to discover more, switching between “For You,” “Following,” “Popular,” and “Continue Watching.”
Also like TV, IGTV offers “channels,” except the individual creators are the channels. Follow a creator on Instagram, and their channel will show up within IGTV. Anyone can be a creator and start their own channel simply by uploading IGTV videos in the app or on the web.
With a focus on long-form video content, IGTV will go head-to-head against YouTube, Snapchat Discover, and even Facebook, Inc.’s own Facebook Watch. Instagram will use IGTV to appeal to a younger generation of users, stating that while teenagers are watching 40% less TV than five years ago, video consumption on Instagram has increased 60% over the last year. What they are watching is different too, with the number of creators in the space increases exponentially.
Image via IGTV Announcement
IGTV is already partnering with well-known creators and influencers such as LaurDIY and Lele Pons, along with publishers such as National Geographic and brands like Benefit cosmetics, in an effort to persuade other high-profile creators – and ordinary users – to migrate to the new platform. While there are not yet monetization opportunities for creators within the platform, Instagram says it is working towards having a solution in place by year’s end.
At launch, IGTV does not contain any ads, though according to Instagram co-founder and CEO, Kevin Systrom, that would be “a reasonable place to end up.” It is very likely that these ads will come in the form of pre- or mid-roll, creating a welcomed new platform for brands to advertise amid the continued saturation and increased competition across other placements. The eventual inclusion ads would also provide IGTV with a needed revenue-sharing solution for Instagram and creators.
Until then, there are still ample opportunities for brands to get involved with IGTV, either through their own organic channel or existing creators. Now is an excellent time for brands to be an early adopter, getting in front of a large number of users as they continue to actively explore the space, building a presence on IGTV. With the added barrier of needing to produce long-format, vertical video, competition for attention will likely be lessened as many brands will be slow to invest in and develop relevant content. If video production is a roadblock, brands can still enter the space by establishing direct partnerships with popular influencers, focusing on branded custom content, to be shared on the influencer’s channel, reaching an expanded, untapped audience.
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Released exactly five after the launch of video within Instagram, IGTV brings with it the next iteration of content creation, and while the full potential of the platform remains to be seen, it represents the continual evolution and growth of mobile within the marketplace.
7 MINUTES READ | April 18, 2019