IGTV: is the future of video vertical?

Instagram, owned by Facebook mobile application for sharing pictures, has yesterday released IGTV — an app for sharing long-form videos. Here is what it’s all about.

What is it?

IGTV is a new app for watching long-form, vertical video from Instagram creators. There’s a stand-alone IGTV app, but Instagram also announced users will be able to watch from within the Instagram app.

Why was it launched?

Instagram has been originally launched for photo enthusiasts who are willing to share their lives through this form of content. The platform, however, never shied away from the video content, constantly pushing out short videos to its explore page. The app reportedly aims to challenge Google-owned YouTube.

How does it work?

The app is created predominantly for mobile use due to its vertical orientation. Videos are full-screen and they start playing after launching the app. Users don’t need to search to start watching content from people they follow on Instagram. Instagram also pushes content of people users don’t follow; the app offers tabs “For You,” “Following,” “Popular” and “Continue Watching.” IGTV also offers standard set of features known from the native platform — liking, commenting and sending videos to friends via Direct (Instagram’s built-in messaging).

IGTV has its own channels, but as Instagram explains, the creators are the channels. This means that when user follows a creator on Instagram, their videos will be shown in the user’s IGTV feed.

What’s more, videos posted on IGTV won’t be limited to one minute.

How will Instagram monetise it?

IGTV is currently ads-free. But this is too huge of an opportunity not to monetise the platform. TechCrunch has earlier this month reported that this is yet to happen.

Is it an opportunity for influencers?

Yes. Those with big audiences will be able to reach millions of their followers via the app. There’s plenty more space for new influencers to find their audiences, too.

Will it be a threat for YouTube?

In my opinion, YouTube and Instagram are filling two different gaps. YouTube has a huge breath of content and has been a monopolist in the world of internet video for years — arguably because there was no one who could overtake its strong position. For me, it’ll always be a go-to platform for watching any types of tutorials and video blogs. There’s also so many creators who shoot videos for YouTube and want them to be as cinematic as possible. Due to vertical orientation of content on IGTV, this type of content won’t nescesairly be popular on the Instgram’s platform.

I do think, however, that IGTV will be a good place to go during spare five minutes while eating a sandwich during a lunch break. Future of mobile video might be vertical, but there are still other ways to consume this type of content.



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