In a bid to take on YouTube, Instagram has launched IGTV, an app that will allow users to upload hour-long videos. The earlier video feature on Instagram permitted users to upload videos of a maximum one minute in length.
“For the first time ever, Instagram has enabled uploading longer-than-a-minute videos on the platform. IGTV allows up to an hour-long upload, which gives the creators the freedom to create longer videos.It also makes for a seamless viewing experience on the platform. With a vertical format and full-screen view, the experience on IGTV is more immersive than that of native videos on Instagram. Advertisers can now directly upload longer videos on the platform or collaborate with content creators like us, like they've been doing, to reach out a much wider audience through IGTV channels,” said Chintan Ruparel, Co-Founder and Chief Content Officer at Terribly Tiny Tales.
A few Indian brands along with independent video creators such as TVF have already started leveraging the platform for a better reach.
“IGTV is a vertical video format supporting a long format. Till now,none of the long format content platforms have vertical videos. It is relevant for a lot of content creators for behindthe scenes.General stuff can definitely be shared in a vertical format and going forward not just we, but a lot of content creators would be keeping an eye on IGTV and the kind of attraction it's getting in India and scientifically, it will become another interesting platform for content creators,” said, Vyom Charaya, Director, Brand Solutions.
Instagram influencers can treat IGTV as a new opportunity to partner with brands to create sponsored content. Advertisers will buy placements, say 15 or 30-second spot-in channels streaming content related to their products.While brands are used to working with YouTube influencers to create long-form video reviews and testimonials about their products, IGTV represents a new platform for partnerships.
Industry experts say though IGTV is an interesting format, it will be a while before it picks up pace.
“We are still trying to understand how it will look in a group format, how it will look in a setting where it is drama or some content that involves more than one character.As of now what we see is, it is great for tutorials but we have to explore how to develop stories on this format,” said Hitesh Malhotra, Chief Marketing Officer, Nykaa.
“IGTV is not just a YouTube clone, but a hybrid of the Instagram or Snap format with YouTube. YouTube has been gaining a lot more traction with content creators and deepening its revenue share and distribution relationship with creators. However Instagram is not that sophisticated yet and it will be a while before they start rewarding content creators directly. Until then, YouTube is unlikely to lose any of their influencers in the short-term,” said Venugopal Ganganna, CEO, Langoor.
Comparing YouTube and IGTV, Ruparel said, “YouTube is a strong, close-knit and a thriving community of content creators from across the world. Content creation and consumption patterns are very different on YouTube and Instagram. Instagram is consumed on the go and is flooded with images, Instagram story videos, DMs, etc. Instagram is more personal and voyeuristic. YouTube, besides allowing fantastic horizontal videos, is the place to consume long-format HD videos with the option to choose the video quality, enable or disable captions, etc. Instagram, on the other hand, truncates video quality on a relatively weak network, doesn't have the option to enable or disable subtitles, etc. All of these impact viewership. I think while IGTV is the new kid on the block, brands and influencers will continue to create content for YouTube.”
Unlike migrating from Snapchat stories to Instagram stories, the transition from YouTube content to Instagram will not be that simple. YouTube’s mainstay is the horizontal format, whereas Instagram is banking on the vertical video format. So, for instance, when Instagram stories came along, a lot of snapchatters simply downloaded their Snapchat stories and reposted them on Instagram stories and Snapchat’s recent redesign didn’t help matters either.
“IGTV is a long haul game. A few cycles will need to pass with significant amounts of content being created and consumers having to consume it. And a culture being set,” said Ganganna of Langoor.
With each video platform aiming to wrest control from their competitor, there's a number of skirmishes in the online video war. But there is a bigger battle going on: between the big screen and the small screen. YouTube is investing in ‘big TV screen’ areas and Instagram is going in for portrait small screen, probably leaving the landscape battle for its parent, Facebook.
“Though the format is video, it’s a whole new animal and I think they will both coexist with different consumption behaviours. This space is still nascent and we shall see many more players in the future.YouTube has the backing of the powerful Google engine, its algorithms, search stacks, its humongous first mover advantage. I see YouTube being used for heavy lifting by content producers while Instagram and others for more qualitative softer targeting approach,” said Ganganna.
“Having said that I don’t think YouTube will take this lightly. Be ready for their counter to IGTV,” said Anil K Nair, Managing Partner, L&K Saatchi & Saatchi.