IGTV has arrived. It’s the biggest shake up from the app since its introduction of The Debilitating Unchronological Algorithm – or is it?
I heard rumblings of videos being the future of the strictly pictures only Instagram, with some influencers saying it was going to be a ‘game changer.’ But in a wild turn of events that left me feeling a lot older than my millennial age of 20, the rug was pulled from underneath me and I found out IGTV had actually been launched a couple of days prior. The future moves fast.
My previous phone, what with its measly 16GB or less of storage space, has turned me into someone who has to manually update their apps. Cut to me mindlessly tapping through my Stories, only to see people discussing IGTV and whether or not they liked it so far. I updated my app ASAP and saw the new glowing orange TV icon at the top of my feed.
So I prepared myself for a ‘game changer’, something that would tip the social media landscape on its vertical video axis. After all, Instagram famously ate its competition when it launched its Stories function, obviously copying SnapChat’s bread and butter and taking their text, drawing and fun filter options with it as well. So I braced myself for it to swallow YouTube.
But what I found most surprising though, was what not many people were fussed over IGTV. I didn’t hear much about it, I didn’t see many creators promoting new content there (while still keeping in mind the new function was only a week old at this point). It kind of just existed there, like so many other functions as part of the increasingly cluttered Instagram platform.
But before I delve into if I think IGTV is the next big video platform, what even is IGTV?
What Is IGTV?
IGTV is a new function of Instagram for long form, vertical videos. There is a separate IGTV app, however every single Instagram user has the IGTV function already built into their account, so you don’t need the separate app to view content, upload videos yourself, or get more features. (Which begs the question, why is there a separate app altogether?)
I love the idea of IGTV, and here’s why.
More creativity: I really love seeing how creative people get with their Instagram Stories, and I actually find myself opening the app, watching a bunch of stories, and clicking out of it again. Sometimes I don’t want to scroll through my feed, but instead get short little snippets of content. This new video feature is an extension of that. While you don’t need to have an Oscar worthy video on IGTV, the film aspect opens up more ways to be creative.
More permanent than Stories: I’ve seen some people with heaps of Story Highlight circles on their profiles as the Highlight function has so far been the only way to keep our fleeting snippets of stories on our profiles for longer. I’ve already seen people use IGTV for quick tutorials, product reviews, and little vlogs. Typically the kind of videos that are on YouTube…
All in one: For both a creator and a viewer, having a long form video feature built into the Instagram app takes away the middle man, the middle man being creators having to prompt or link people to their newest YouTube video to watch it, or viewers having to leave the app at all. Also, once you follow someone on Instagram, you’re automatically a subscriber to their IGTV channel, which means creators now won’t have to worry about building a following on another platform.
Another way to be discovered: There’s a ‘popular’ page on IGTV, and if your video pops up there it’s just another way for more people to see your content. I rolled my eyes though because the first video on my ‘popular’ page was about Logan Paul. I haven’t bothered with it since.
But of course, there are some cons to the pros.
Videos must be vertical: To suit the app, you can only upload and film vertical footage. I like this idea, it’s what makes it different and it’s a logical choice. But this means if you’re a creator who wants to put a horizontal YouTube video on IGTV and vice versa, you can’t really. And from a personal perspective, I can only watch so much vertical footage before I miss that natural, wide angle shot.
Creators cannot monetise (yet): Unlike YouTube where creators can earn money from ads and views through monetising their videos, you can’t do that with IGTV. However, it will probably happen in the future. On the plus side, since there is currently no money involved, there are also no ads to sit through.
Lowkey elitist: Just like that damn Swipe Up ability which unlocks like a video game level when your account surpasses 10,000 followers, the length of each of your videos depends on the amount of followers you have. Commoners like myself are allowed up to 10 minutes of footage, while apparently bigger, verified accounts can allegedly upload up to two hours.
It plays automatically: Just like real TV, once you open IGTV, someone’s channel and their newest video will start playing automatically. You can pause things, tap around to different videos, but you can never fully minimise anything. Personally, I find it a bit annoying. With YouTube, especially the app, you can minimise a video, pause it, do whatever and continue to navigate around and not feel like you’re suffocating.
Just another feature to keep up with: Creators are saying it’s annoying because it’s just another thing to produce content for. So far we have Instagram, Stories, YouTube, Twitter, Snapchat, Facebook, Pinterest, your own blog if you’re a blogger, the list goes on. But I watched Latasha James‘ video on this topic and she said it’s important to not spread yourself too thin and that it’s not about using every platform, but knowing which platforms are your biggest and most effective.
Back to my main point, will IGTV be the next YouTube?
The phrase ‘YouTube is dying!‘ has been a thing for quite a while now. Once massively popular channels are losing views and subscribers by the day, the platform has an algorithm which is automatically demonetising videos without proper explanations, creators aren’t getting paid, there are theories the trending page is rigged, videos aren’t showing in viewers subscription feeds, and the battle to stay relevant and stand out above the noise is just the icing on top.
It’s a hot mess.
By while a lot of channels are struggling, there is one creator in particular who stands out in my eyes and in my subscription box. Their new approach to YouTube and loyal following has allowed them to branch out from what others are doing and produce content that’s different, interesting, fresh, more insightful, yet just as hilarious as before.
It’s Shane Dawson, and his three part investigation into the actual mess that was TanaCon is one of the best things I’ve watched all year and cements itself as a pop culture highlight of 2018. It’s a far cry from the repetitive videos he used to upload just a year ago, from his 13th ‘Trying Girl Products’ video to his 16th ‘Trying Dumb Life Hacks’. Shane used to upload five days a week, but with his new long form series getting double or triple the amount of views as his previous videos and gaining almost a million additional followers just this month, it’s obvious the trick is quality over quantity.
I watched the epic, 41 minute finale in HD with my sister on our TV because my laptop wouldn’t cut it. But can I ever see myself getting that excited over something to be posted on IGTV? Will I want to watch something vertical for 40 minutes on my phone where it’s tricky to watch with someone else?
No. Or not right now, at least.
I have already see rising Instagrammers with growing followings utilise IGTV wonderfully, from posting little vlogs, unboxings, DIYs, get to know me videos and more. I think it’s a perfect feature for creators like that, and I do think in the future it might overtake smaller YouTubers which post similar content yet struggle to grow their reach.
I think the future of YouTube isn’t the same old same old we’ve seen a million times before. The views already show that audiences want content they didn’t even know they needed but are dying to watch, like the investigation into the TanaCon disaster, or the five part series Shane has coming up which follows the polarising, larger than life personality of makeup mogul Jeffree Star. I mean, I know I’ll be watching that.
What are your thoughts on IGTV? Have you been checking out what’s being posted? Or is it something you’re not interested in at all? Leave me a comment below, I would love to keep the discussion going! While we’re on the topic, check out my Instagram too @jessica_riga and help a gal out by chucking me a follow, I might just start posting on IGTV soon!