Instagram started off as a basic photo-sharing app eight years ago. A few years later, they allowed short videos to be shared (one-minute max). They then evolved the app by stealing Snapchat’s idea and integrating what they call Instagram stories. It essentially is a complete rip-off of Snapchat but, honestly, Instagram did it so much better. Taking one idea was not enough though as Instagram have now launched a brand-new app called IGTV, which is clearly set out to be a YouTube competitor.
IGTV is a stand-alone app that features vertical videos. This totally makes sense when content is watched more on mobile devices compared to desktop these days. It’s a complete step-up from Instagram posts and stories, as videos on IGTV can be as long as an hour. Whilst it is a dedicated app available on iOS and Android, it’s also integrated into the Instagram app and available on desktop too. For those that use Instagram, you’ll find the IGTV icon on the top-right corner, besides the direct messages icon. This integration makes it easier to watch videos, view photos and stories from a single app.
Location of the IGTV icon is circled
The app has a very simple interface. As soon as you open it, a vertical video from someone that you already follow on Instagram will automatically start playing. At the bottom, you’ll get the option to scroll through others or use the search box to find a particular video or user. It’s split into four tabs: For You, Following, Popular and Continue Watching. They are all self-explanatory really but the latter is handy as it gives you quick access to resume a video you may have started watching earlier.
Tapping a video will hide the browse section so you can view the vertical video in full screen mode. Tapping it again, will show a ‘browse’ link so you can view it again as well as give you options to like the video, add a comment, share it or pause / play / forward / rewind it. You can, of course, also tap the user’s profile photo to see more of their videos and follow them if you’re not already. When watching IGTV via the Instagram app, simply tapping the X in the top-right corner will take you out of the TV mode and back into Instagram. It’s pretty neat.
Left: When the app is first opened. Middle: When watching a video. Right: Watching a video in full screen.Should YouTube be worried?
IGTV wasn’t launched with any monetisation options or ads in place, which means content creators can’t earn from it, yet. Kevin Systrom, the CEO, did mention that there will be the opportunity for creators to be paid in the future so all hope is not lost. Therefore, as it stands, it’s not much of a threat to YouTube but it could potentially be.
In February this year, YouTube stripped away the rights for small YouTubers (like myself) to earn revenue by demonetising all accounts that didn’t have 1000 subscribers and 240,000 minutes of watch time in the last year. This was completely unfair and I really don’t think it was the right thing to do to attempt to address an issue with offensive videos being released but they did it anyway. No doubt, this disheartened a lot of people and some users even quit making videos.
With YouTube’s actions and the fact that Instagram will eventually allow content creators to earn money, YouTube will definitely have competition. We can’t even ignore the fact that Instagram has 1 billion monthly active users and it’s still a growing app. Therefore, once monetisation options kick in, IGTV could just be a threat to YouTube.
Saying that, YouTube is huge and has been around for many years. I’m not sure people would leave YouTube for IGTV; they may use both though. I personally think it’s something we’ll have to wait out and see. It’ll depend on how IGTV’s monetisation scheme works when it comes into play but for now I think it’s pretty awesome how Instagram are evolving, even if their ideas aren’t completely their own. I do hope they change the interface though as I’m not too keen on it as it is right now.
What do you guys think of IGTV? Do you think it could ever become a serious threat to YouTube?
Sadia produces tech reviews, tech tips & tutorial videos at XALIRATE and posts here on Wednesdays and Saturdays