IGTV (Instagram TV) – The Future of Video?

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On June 20, Instagram organized a special event celebrating 1 billion users on the platform. Other than just honoring this big milestone in the company’s history, Kevin Systrom, CEO of Instagram, has announced IGTV (Instagram TV).

Instagram TV – the Future of Video?

IGTV is a new feature on the app that enables the users to upload longer videos. Unlike before, where you could only post Stories no longer than 15 seconds and videos up to one minute, IGTV videos can last up to one hour. In the beginning, only larger accounts will be able to post hour long videos, and the rest of the users can upload videos up to 10 minutes. In the future, Instagram is planning to let all users upload videos of unlimited length.


Basics of IGTV

IGTV is incorporated into the Instagram app, but can also be downloaded as a stand-alone app. As the name suggests, the idea behind the IGTV is that it will replace TV in the future.

Instagram’s press release notes: “Just like turning on the TV, IGTV starts playing as soon as you open the app. You don’t have to search to start watching content from people you already follow on Instagram and others you might like based on your interests.”

IGTV videos are mobile-first, they come in the form of full-screen vertical videos. The reason behind videos being vertical is that they are recorded with the phone and the produced content is more real and less edited.

How to use Instagram TV

As already mentioned, all users can upload to IGTV. Before uploading a video, you need to create a channel for your account. To upload a video, click the “+” in the right-hand corner. While uploading a video, you can add the title and the description for each upload. Additionally, you can also create a thumbnail in .jpg so your profile looks more organized and professional. Prerecorded videos have to be in .MP4, with an aspect ratio of 9:16.

Please note that just like when you are uploading a video to YouTube you should utilize relevant keywords. Make your videos searchable by adding popular and, more importantly, relevant keywords.

After you have published your video click on the “…” button next to the like, comment, share section to check your stats. You can see your analytics such as views (unfortunately anonymous), retention rate and other, similar, data. You can also copy the link to your video or delete it.

When you are watching videos from other creators, you can swipe up to discover different ones. There are different search options available: “For You,” “Following,” “Popular” and “Continue Watching.” Additionally, you can like, comment and send videos to friends in direct messages. If you follow a creator on IGTV you also follow them on Instagram and vice versa.

The Future of Video

The main idea behind IGTV is that one day Instagram can host full shows that can challenge traditional TV and even YouTube. It is a valid point that Instagram is trying to do this right now, knowing that users spend a lot of time watching videos on Instagram, and generally watching videos on their phones.

However, IGTV has been available for only two weeks and although many creators tried out the new feature, it was hard to find a channel that had used the full hour allotted to them. Most of the videos I have watched are, in length, around 5-10 minutes, usually containing similar content that is posted on their respective Instagram Stories or YouTube channels.

The biggest problem that is seen for the future of IGTV is that, at the moment, there is no way to earn money on the platform. The service does not include any ads and Instagram has announced that it is not paying for any content. It will be interesting to see how many influencers will stay loyal to IGTV if there will be no monetary compensation. We have seen similar thing happen to Facebook, which is still working on a reward system for the most popular creators. The creators still update their Facebook Pages, but not with the original content, rather, with the links to their YouTube videos. YouTube, even though recently under fire because of massive demonetization, has a large number of loyal creators that can actually earn their living through YouTube’s partner program.

It will be interesting to see where this new platform and format will lead. It is still in the beginnings and hopefully more and more users and brands will start uploading their content. The possibilities are, just like on any other social platform, endless, and I am looking forward to discovering more opportunities and creative ways to use IGTV in my work and personal life.