Instagram, the popular visual platform owned by Facebook launched IGTV last week at an event in San Francisco to allow posting and viewing of longer form vertical videos. This puts the platform in direct competition with Google’s own, YouTube.
We can’t help but feel bored about IGTV’s entrance, maybe it is because we don’t really feel like there is anything new or because there already too many players in the video space such as Hulu, Facebook TV, Netflix, Vimeo and YouTube TV.
Even the concept of Instagram stories was new, it was a direct rip off of Snapchat’s Stories by Facebook planted onto its own platforms including WhatsApp.
This is not Instagram’s first video feature. They launched Instagram video five years ago, but it only allowed short content and they have also been having Instagram live video stories.
Content posted on IGTV is vertical, must be less than 60 minutes (1 hour) and is accessible through the Instagram app or IGTV app. Currently, you can’t find content or categories on it using the search feature. You can only search for the IGTV channels which sucks if you don’t know them, but maybe this will be improved over time.
When we consulted with Allan Bangirana, CEO of Innovware Inc, he mentioned that digital video has been steadily taking over social media especially shorter and interesting or inspirational videos receiving more impressions, shares and engagement than traditional text only or image content.
“It isn’t always about having the biggest budget for video, but being creative and making it feel like you are part of the community,” he adds, “If it’s relatable, cool or funny; it often gets attention.”
He told us that right now he feels Facebook Business is slowly getting saturated with less value or return on investment for companies in Africa investing in its ads so most are slowly switching to Twitter and Instagram.
Companies like Nike, Chipotle, Gucci and Netflix are already testing some content on the platform by either repurposing their Instagram Stories or creating short content to experiment with. Nike uploaded an animation of Cristiano Ronaldo to its new IGTV channel on Monday in its World Cup campaign.
Netflix maxed the full hour with a video of actor Cole Sprouse eating a burger which got more than 676,000 views and nearly 5,000 comments (this is why aliens won’t land here) whereas Chipotle was the first company to create a new video above 1 minute just for IGTV and it got 30 comments and 10,000 views.
We are expecting more players in the industry such as BuzzFeed, NBC, The Tonight Show, National Geographic to come onboard.
When we spoke to Elvis Rodney Kimera, one of the partners at Ox Agency; he said IGTV might have a chance at engaging users from developing countries since YouTube is still struggling to maintain consistent usage in African countries because of high data prices and low internet bandwidth.
A considerable number of users watch several small sized WhatsApp and Facebook videos in a day. YouTube is at a disadvantage since some countries even offer free or cheaper access to Facebook, WhatsApp, Snapchat and Instagram.
IGTV is totally free with no ads, but the spokesperson for Instagram said they are working on ways to monetize it. This could come in different options such as a premium for businesses, user subscriptions or simply ads.
Instagram is doing well for itself as a mobile only platform valued at more than $100 billion if it were an independent company. The real question we remain with is whether it stands a chance against YouTube which is the largest video platform in the world and allows users to watch their content horizontally which makes it more favourable to use on larger devices and smart TVs too.
Watch a preview video from the Instagram CEO, Kevin here:
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Lawrence writes about tech, lifestyle, politics, business, crypto and occasionally entertainment. He writes for Newslibre and Spur Magazine while consulting with numerous international companies on strategy, community management and marketing.
He has contributed to the journalism, open source, film, youth, web, Andela and Mozilla communities.