Last week, Instagram unveiled its heavily-rumoured longform video initiative called ‘IGTV’. Available as a new standalone app or from within the main Instagram app, IGTV allows content creators and the general public to upload videos of up to one-hour in length.
IGTV content exceeds the previous video limit of 60 seconds, and allows new users and those with small follower numbers to upload videos from 15 seconds to ten minutes in length. For accounts with large followings, videos of up to one hour in length can be uploaded, either through the app or through the Instagram website.
But where has this new direction come from? Well for those keeping up with Instagram’s platform changes and updates over the past few years, it shouldn’t come as a surprise; the Facebook-owned company has been gradually incorporating features and functionality from competitor apps for some years now.
Although initially purely a photo-sharing service, in June 2013 Instagram added the ability to record and share videos of up to 15 seconds. A move that many saw as a way to compete with Twitter’s ‘Vine’ service, itself allowing users to share six second clips.
Then, in August 2016, Instagram announced ‘Instagram Stories’; a Snapchat-like service that allows users to share images and videos to an ‘Instagram Story’ which expires after 24 hours - each of which can be decorated with face filters, stickers, gifs and more.
In November 2016, Instagram announced that it was adding live video to the service, allowing users to broadcast video to their followers in real time. This was seen as a way to compete with another of Twitter’s services, ‘Periscope’, which itself centres around the ability to watch and share live video on the platform.
And finally, in February 2018, a new ‘type’ filter was added to Instagram Stories, allowing users to create text-only stories, which some saw as a way to compete with Twitter.
So with Vine (RIP), Snapchat and Twitter taken on, the next obvious target, especially with how popular Instagram’s video content was with users and content creators-alike, was YouTube.
And that’s where IGTV comes in.
With the ability to add video of up to an hour in length, IGTV seems geared towards content creators who have been creating longform content elsewhere; YouTuber’s who create daily vlogs and tech reviews, content creators already creating comedy skits, documentaries on other platforms, and more.
Although IGTV doesn’t currently display ads and doesn’t have any revenue sharing agreements with creators at launch, Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom has said “This is obviously a very reasonable place to end up.” And with longform content keeping users engaged for longer - increasing the amount of time spent in Instagram’s apps - this all adds up to increased opportunity for brands and organisations to advertise to users, and increase Instagram’s revenue at the same time.
But it’s not just YouTube celebrities who intend to make waves on IGTV, there’s room here for everyone.
In fact, starting today, every video we produce for our website and social channels will also be uploaded to IGTV in vertical format. We’ve already refactored one of our recent videos - featuring our Strategy Director, Arianne Donoghue, who talks about what travel brands need to do to target holiday-makers this summer - and all of our recent video content will be making its way onto our IGTV channel in the coming weeks.
To see our IGTV content, follow Epiphany on Instagram by visiting http://instagram.com/hello_epiphany or search for us in Instagram or the new IGTV app.