It’s been a little over two months since our beloved Instagram has launched IGTV, a vertical video feature that is both embedded in Instagram and has its own app platform. Two months usually seems like an eternity when it comes to technology and app updates, but for some reason IGTV still feels pretty new to most users and maybe even a little — dare we say it — clunky.

Instagram’s brainchild, “IGTV,” has sparked the curiosities of the app’s 1 billion users and is now discussed as a potential competitor of Youtube (this could get interesting!). Learning to use feature is simple enough. The real question lies in the potential to attract content creators and audiences with a vertically-oriented, more casual feeling video platform.

via changescapeweb.com

With this feature and app, Instagram gives users the ability to post videos up to ten minutes in length (up to a whole hour for those with a certified ~popular~ account) about anything their heart desires. Popular topics do not stray far from the expected, with most videos covering makeup tutorials, shopping hauls, musical performance and cooking. More often than not, IGTV videos are simply a collage of recycled Instagram Story footage or something of a personal video montage, leaving us to wonder if users could be unmotivated or uninterested in creating original footage for the channel. Some creators do put forth interesting and original footage, though. It’s not surprising that a Kylie Jenner makeup video has exceeded 250K views, but what’s harder to believe is that a 9-minute film on ecotourism in Coral Triangle has over one million IGTV views. With this drastic diversity in content topic and views, there’s no telling what users are interested in watching on this app — everything goes! At this early stage, it is still difficult to say what content is best received by the Instagram community, and whether content creators will embrace the platform in a similar way as YouTube.

If one thing is for certain about IGTV, it is that major artists, influencers and celebrities see the platform as a way to engage their followers with “sneak peak” style content on their lives. Artists like Jhene Aiko have begun to frequently post makeup tutorials, and Lele Pons has a regular IGTV series called “Cooking With Lele”. Even popular Youtubers like Marques Brownlee have come to The Dark Side by using IGTV. They see the feature as an opportunity to regularly post behind-the-scenes teaser footage of the making of bigger “more polished” work that ultimately winds up on Youtube. The feature’s simplicity and non-cinematic, vertical format (as if you’re watching an Instagram Story) offers opportunities for influencers to start broadcasting small-time, fun videos for their followers to enjoy.

Influencers, celebrities, and commoners alike can take advantage of posting to their IGTV channel. To get started, you have to “create a channel” through your existing Instagram account, which means you get to keep your existing follower count #majorperk. Similarly to an Instagram story, simply upload a video, title, description and cover to your content and it will be added to your channel. There are no in-app special effects, editing capabilities, or filters, which means that a lot of time editing content elsewhere can go into posting a video. The assumption is that the privilege of uploading videos that could be as long as one hour means that skilled users will use editing software to spice up their videos to establish production quality comparable to Youtube videos.

via Instagram

So far, the feature has emerged as a home for content creators and influencers who see IGTV as an opportunity to promote content that lives on other social media sites — whether that is their Twitter pages, Youtube channels, or Soundclouds. Currently, there is no way to monetize videos and advertising on IGTV which means that those with major followings on videos will not yet reap the benefits (aka cash money) that they can on YouTube. If IGTV is to truly take off, it is likely that we start seeing advertisements on the platform in the near future.

For now, Instagrammers are still figuring out what to make of IGTV as they absorb the way major influencers are currently using it. With its vertical orientation, amateur creators without formal film or editing skills might be attracted to this more casual-feeling platform. However, the vertical format eliminates the opportunity for videographers to show off their work and musicians to portfolio music videos. Those who best “crack the code” of how to create the most engaging vertical content will surely pave the way for the rest. The new feature may offer an opportunity for new creators to shine and develop enormous followings, but we are still waiting for some traction to see where the future of the app lies. Only time will tell what becomes of IGTV and whether the video platform will grow into the next YouTube.


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