“IGTV is a standalone vertical video application launched by Instagram” – but what exactly does this mean to the internet and is it actually good?
To put it simply, IGTV is like watching Instagram stories, only they’re up to an hour long and you can browse them without being anyone’s friend. The videos are vertical, yes, vertical (we’ll discuss this later) and are supposed to rival the likes of YouTube.
First things first
The first thing to note is IGTV comes bundled within the Instagram app or in a standalone app which is a useful option, although, you still require an Instagram account either way. Getting going is easy, just tap the IGTV icon within the Instagram app and that’s it, you’re watching an endless stream of user-created videos from your favourite Instagrammers. There are also ways of finding new content creators with suggested videos in the “For You” tab and the most watched recent videos in the “Popular” tab. Setting up your own brand or business channel is just as easy and is discussed further in this blog.
What we like
There are a few things about IGTV that just make sense and are genuinely good concepts and ideas. Firstly, content is endless, meaning when one video ends another starts immediately afterwards without interruption. This makes sense, as the focus of IGTV appears to be exploration; finding new creators and following their channel or Instagram. Another feature to like is the simplicity, 3 taps and your channel is created and you’re good to go. This is key, as Instagram is looking for plenty of user-generated content, so the simplicity means a lower barrier to entry and therefore more content, well done Instagram. Performance wise, the app seems well optimised and runs well.
Videos are vertical; I get it, it’s different, you hold mobiles vertically, it makes sense, right? Maybe, but the issue here is the content. When writing this article, I watched a few hours of IGTV and saw very few videos that actually used vertical video as it should have been. Almost every single video was either horizontal, had boxes on the top and bottom with a horizontal video in the middle or even just showed a slice of a horizontal video as if you were watching through a vertical letterbox. Very few were created in vertical, for vertical and framed correctly so you could actually see all the content they wished to display. Although it’s easy to whine about a vertical video, it could work but needs the community backing behind it and in these early stages, the community support for vertical simply isn’t there.
Overall thoughts & feelings
It’s very early right now and Instagram has plans for IGTV in the future for the app they believe “is the future of video.” The main issue with IGTV as it stands is a lack of a distinct purpose. Right now, it may seem like a glorified Instagram story viewer with no real purpose other than to keep users on the app for longer, it will get there though. There are plans for ads in the future and we look forward to seeing how and when this happens. In its current state, IGTV seems like something that could be bigger in the future, so it’ll be interesting to see what Instagram does with this platform once it gains some traction.
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