The battle for attention has taken a new turn!
Instagram has announced IGTV, a platform allowing creators to upload 1-hour long videos instead of the current 60 seconds video clips. While the official press release says that everyone can upload long-form videos, the general internet chatter seems to indicate that initially “bigger” creators will have the 1-hour limit and “smaller” creators will be able to upload 10-minute clips. (Mine says I can upload a vertical video between 15 seconds and 5 minutes long.)
A standalone IGTV app is available for both Android and Apple users and Instagram views the creators as unique channels, much like a traditional TV so anyone can “create a channel”.
The app is simple to use, content begins to play as soon it loads without searching.
This announcement had sent social media into a buzz with many creators already posting their first videos which so far has a common theme “Hi. This is my first video on IGTV. I don’t know what I will do here, so let me know in the comments what you want to see and we will figure it out.”
So now what does IGTV really mean for creators?
A built-in audience
Whenever a new platform launches, creators have the same issue – building an audience on yet another platform. Twitch has become more mainstream, arguably thanks to Ninja, but anyone who begins to live-stream on Twitch starts with zero followers. No audience.
With IGTV, for most creators, there is already an existing audience. Therefore, from the very first video, there is someone to watch without any promotion.
Instagram confirmed that the “IGTV channels” will be available on both the stand-alone app and the current Instagram app.
Therefore, the audience doesn’t have to find content to watch, but by tapping on the “For You” or “Following” options, videos will immediately appear from the same people that are already being followed on the platform.
This is key and a great strategy as it already feels natural to see videos from people you follow.
There is also “Popular” option, so you can find new content if you wish to expand your horizon.
Shareability and interactivity
When an Instagram live happens, the hearts/ likes and comment fly in as this is now embedded into our online psyche.
Instagram knows that the audience wants to engage with the creator. Therefore, IGTV has the option to leave comments and likes and share the video with friends in a Direct message. Just feels right.
Pro TIp: if you long-hold on the video, you will see “Copy Link”. If you tap on that you can then paste the link into email or WhatsApp or IM and share that video.
The Concern: 1-hour Length on Instagram
I am not 100% convinced that people will want to consume 1-hour video in vertical mode only. Instagram is all about quick bits of info. A quick thumb through your timeline’s photos, intesperesed with a couple of video clips while waiting in line.
I can see short 10-min talking-head style videos doing really well but 1-hour clip, in that vertical format, would take some getting used to.
For longer form, YouTube is perfect. The ability to have landscape-mode, full screen, the ability to change the resolution to suit your bandwidth and even the playback speed – all make it ideal for video on the go.
The Concern: Clutter
If you follow a creator for their videos, it will also add them to your normal Instagram follower list so you get to see their Stories and photos. You can’t seem to only follow their IGTV channel.
This means your normal Instagram timeline is now filled with photos which you might not want.
7 questions IGTV did not discuss and the missing Features IGTV that creators want:
While I am sure the platform will expand and adapt, some obvious items that were not discussed were:
- Embedding of video into other location e.g. blogs, emails, websites.
- Analytics/ Stats – this has always proved to be essential to creators to understand what their audience is telling them with the data.
- Monetization – are there plans to let creators monetize their work?
- Ads – will ads be shown before, during, after the videos? Can businesses create video ads and place them in amongst creators videos?
- Notifications – something that YouTube has been having a hard time explaining is how and why do subscribers not get notified when there is new content. Will IGTV have a “new video dropped” message? How will that message compete when multiple channels have new videos?
- Call To Action – will creators be able to have a swipe-up call to action to direct the audience to a website?
- Older movies – how do you see older videos? As a creator, can I link to the older video in my current one to make it easier for my audience to watch?
Today was only the announcement of IGTV along with some featured creators. I am sure we will see this platform evolve and I look forward to seeing how it will balance the demands of both content creators and content consumers. I hope creators will take advantage of this new platform by creating dedicated content for this audience and not simply edit their YouTube clips to suit the vertical requirements. Its early days – but exciting times ahead!
Related: Follow me on Instagram as I too explore that platform on Instagram.com/TheTechieGuy
*header image from Instagram