Earlier today Bloomberg reported that Instagram’s value had topped the $100 billion mark. This number marks a hundred-fold return on the $1 billion investment Facebook made on the company in 2012. This was not the only major announcement the company made recently however. Last week, Instagram also announced a new stand-alone app specifically tailored to long-form video sharing. Today, Ignitia takes a look at what features have been announced and how this new app fits into the larger digital video ecosystem.
A New Angle on Videos
It’s no secret this new platform stands in direct competition to YouTube. Unlike YouTube however, IGTV videos play vertically on your phone. In announcing the new app, Instagram CEO, Kevin Systrom remarked, ‘IGTV is different in a few ways. First, it’s built for how you actually use your phone, so videos are full screen and vertical. Also, unlike on Instagram, videos aren’t limited to one minute. Instead, each video can be up to an hour long.’
Videos Ready When You Are
Another way IGTV differs from YouTube is in the way video is served to users. With IGTV, as soon as you log into the app, the videos in your feed will begin to play. Mr. Systrom further explains, ‘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. You can swipe up to discover more — switch between ‘For You’, ‘Following’, ‘Popular’ and ‘Continue Watching’. You can also like, comment and send videos to friends in Direct.’
Content Tailored to You
The announcement comes as Facebook and YouTube find themselves jockeying for both users and content creators. In an attempt to keep video creator’s happy, last week Facebook also announced several new initiatives to allow filmmakers to monetize their work. In launching, IGTV Instagram can be seen to be doing the same. According to Mr. Systrom, ‘Also like TV, IGTV has channels. But, in IGTV, the creators are the channels. When you follow a creator on Instagram, their IGTV channel will show up for you to watch. Anyone can be a creator — you can upload your own IGTV videos in the app or on the web to start your own channel.’
While initially there are no ads on IGTV, one can be certain to see them somewhere down the road. How long before publishers and content creators begin to see substantial return on their efforts, is anyone’s guess.