Since Instagram was acquired by Facebook in 2012, Instagram has grown more than five times the size of Snapchat. And now, it’s coming to compete with YouTube.
Are you a content creator on Instagram, posting videos which until now were restricted to run for a very short time-period? No worries.
At an event held in San Francisco, on Wednesday, the company has announced it will begin allowing users to upload videos up to one hour in length, way more than the usual one-minute limit.
Instagram’s push into the longer video segment had been widely expected, with reports from TechCrunch and Wall Street Journal previously hinting that the long video format was about to happen. Now, it has finally arrived.
Instagram becomes the fourth Facebook platform to hit a billion users
Instagram, which had 800 million users as of September, had been outpacing the likes of Twitter and Snapchat and gaining users even as we saw the likes of Facebook declining in the youth segment.
Chief executive Kevin Systrom announced this feat as he unveiled the new application IGTV.
“We have now a community of one billion users,” Systrom told the event in San Francisco.
“Since our launch in 2010, we’ve watched with amazement as the community has flourished and grown,“ he added.
IGTV: The big announcement
On IGTV, long-form vertical videos can be as long as 10 minutes (previously the limit was for one minute). But Instagram is making some exceptions for content creators with massive audiences and following, allowing them to post videos upto 60 minutes.
While the IGTV videos will be pre-recorded, Instagram product manager Ashley Yuki indicated that the USP of Instagram, the live video is something which the company will look at in the future.
The IGTV app will be available globally on iOS and Android, as well as on the Instagram app through a TV like shaped button above Stories.
“We made it a dedicated app so you can tap on it and enjoy video without all the distraction,” Systrom explained.
Users will be able to swipe through various videos or swipe up to visit a browse tab of personally recommended videos, popular videos, videos of creators they are following and the option to continue watching previously watched videos.
Users will also be notified from the IGTV button alerting them of any new content posted, similar to that in YouTube.
Like Youtube, IGTV lets creators develop their own Instagram channels full of their different videos that people can subscribe to. It will also allow creators to put links of their videos and share it on other platforms so as to promote it elsewhere.
IGTV is ad-free, for now
Well, not yet, anyway, but Systrom didn’t rule out the possibility of ads in the future. Of course, ads are a major revenue for the likes of Facebook, Instagram etc and its foolish of them to ignore that segment.
With 1 billion users on Instagram, IGTV would be popular with creators not only trying to earn money but grow their fan base. This is only going to increase the revenue of those at Instagram.
With users glued to Instagram already, IGTV would also attract potential advertisers. According to EMarketer, Instagram is set to earn a whopping $5.48 billion in advertising revenue in 2018, with this figure bound to increase over time.
How is IGTV different from YouTube?
Firstly, YouTube has ads but IGTV as of yet doesn’t. Although it might be a temporary benefit, it can succeed in bringing a dent to YouTube’s hopes.
While many would think that one hour might be more than enough for most content creators, let me remind you of YouTube’s generous maximum time of 12 hours. Yes, we can stream a movie on Youtube and not on IGTV.
Probably the feature where YouTube wins is its horizontal formatting. With IGTV being vertically-oriented, videos might not always be a pleasure to watch. We are used to turning our phones on their sides to watch everything from YouTube to Netflix. This will definitely take some time to get used to.
What does IGTV bring to India?
A lot of YouTube influencers in India have stated how it is becoming increasingly difficult to just bank on YouTube earnings. With the introduction of IGTV, a different platform for them with different revenue method, things surely look good for them.
With Instagram crossing 1 billion users, the target audience for these content creators is going to a whole new level. With YouTube and IGTV both among the mix, their videos will be available on multiple platforms contributing an increase in viewers as well as popularity.
If IGTV does become popular as experts expect it to, one question still remains unanswered about its moderation.
They need to consider the scenario when people use IGTV for the much controversial content. And if it has any questions it could look to YouTube, or even its parent-company Facebook.
Image Credits: Google Images