Instagram TV Launches Dedicated Video Service


In the wake of changing entertainment consumption habits, Instagram has recently unveiled their “new app for watching long-form, vertical video” — IGTV.

Today, Instagram is a global community of one billion users who use the platform to share their stories, both personal and professional — ideal for a generation heavily vested in social media. Their latest offering is an extension of Instagram, aimed at professional Instagram creators, and focused on uploading videos that are longer than 60 seconds, which can prove to be more engaging for followers. The new video streaming servicewill be available in the Instagram app as well as via a dedicated app for Android and iOS. So, how did this idea come about and why was it so eagerly anticipated?

Creating video content is very popular among bloggers, marketers, and “influencers.” New strategies for marketing and tech innovation tend to follow consumers’ behaviour and the technologies they use on a daily basis. Marketing, therefore, has to reinvent itself at the same rate that consumer behaviour evolves. Whether you’re a business, an entrepreneur, or an entertainer, it is always a good idea to experiment with new means of connecting with your audience.

While Instagram is one of the pioneers of quick, digestible content, blogger Josie Rhodes Cook points out that it could be looking to compete with YouTube. Instagram has made it clear that the app is aimed at mobile users. What sets IGTV apart from other streaming services is that it is built for how you actually use your phone. “It’s mobile first, it’s simple and it’s high quality,” said Instagram co-founder and CEO Kevin Systrom. 

What is Instagram TV?

IGTV is exclusively built to create and upload videos on your phone, in fullscreen and vertical form.

Form a personal connection with followers

Users can start their own “Channels” and upload videos that are anything from a minute to an hour long, which Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom reckons can be “more engaging and perhaps more emotional.” 

Easy Accessibility

It can be accessed in app — you just click on the little button on the top right corner of the app and IGTV loads automatically.

Available as a separate app in iOS and Android

When you install the IGTV app on your phone and try to login for the very first time, you will see a login option that uses your Instagram username to proceed. Once you click to continue, IGTV starts up exactly the same way it does on the Instagram app. It’s that simple!

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How can I use IGTV?

Watching content on IGTV couldn’t be more intuitive. Whether you’re accessing it from within the Instagram app or the stand-alone IGTV app itself, channel surfing on IGTV is a pleasure. You can choose from categories such as “Explore”, “Following”, “For You”, “Popular”, and “Continue Watching”, or search for specific content from an account you already follow on Instagram. Alternatively, you can access these categories or the search function while a video is playing by swiping up to get back to the main screen. 

Just like television, IGTV starts playing as soon as you open the app. It will play content from people you follow on Instagram and other creators you might like based on your interests. If there is something on IGTV you enjoyed watching, you can like and comment as well as send videos to friends in “Direct.” 

The fun doesn’t stop there! If the content you watch inspires you enough to start your own channel, IGTV has made it super easy for you to get started. Simply click on your profile icon near the search tool bar and follow the prompts. Much like YouTube, creators can develop Instagram channels full of different videos that people can subscribe to.  They can also put links to other videos in their description to direct traffic to other areas. 

What does the future look like for IGTV? 

IGTV has launched at a time when video sharing is as normal as checking your Facebook updates. According to content strategist Robert Katai, people are watching more online video content than TV, and “mobile video will account for 78% of total mobile data traffic.”

IGTV features differ for different publishers. Big accounts can post videos with no time limit, while regular accounts are able to publish videos that are a maximum of 10 minutes long. Even though this disparity may seem unfair, 10 minutes is a sufficient time for marketers to convey their message whilst engaging their audience.

“There’s no ads in IGTV today,” says Systrom, but he says it’s “obviously a very reasonable place [for ads] to end up.” He explained that creators are investing a lot of time into IGTV videos and he wants them to be able to make some return on their investments so that they can continue making these videos.

With a billion users on Instagram, IGTV could prove to be financially lucrative and help creators expand their audience base. According to TechCrunch, “Instagram is expected to build out a monetization option for IGTV creators, potentially including ad revenue shares. The big user base could also attract advertisers. eMarketer already expects Instagram to earn $5.48 billion in U.S. ad revenue in 2018.”

Instagram has come a long way from the photo sharing app with cool, vintage filters. Mobile networks, screens, and cameras have adapted to accommodate longer-form videos, and users’ tastes have followed suit. Instagram has pioneered a new genre called the TV of mobile just as more people take to watching mobile content instead of television. YouTube may always have rich content with a wider reach, but as publishers’ creativity evolves, their content will adapt to appeal to a whole new breed of mobile savvy consumers. Expected to deepen the connection among people and to further inspire the creator in all of us, Instagram could very well become the mobile platform to comfortably watch something great on the small screen. Keep an eye out for it as it rolls out globally over the next few weeks.

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