In an important shift for artists using the Facebook owned Instagram, the popular photo sharing platform has taken new strides into video by offering longform video in the form of IGTV, hoping this update will help it hang on to the teen market.
Guest post by Bobby Owsinski of Music 3.0
Facebook has been losing its teen users and its video assault on YouTube has plateaued, so the next logical step is to include long form videos on its Instagram service. That’s exactly what happened as the company announced its release of IGTV, a new feature that will be available on existing Instagram accounts and a new dedicated app.
What makes IGTV different from the normal Instagram account is that it raises the time limit on videos from 1 to 10 minutes, or even as much as an hour for users with large subscriber bases. The videos will remain vertical and can go full screen on a mobile device, which the service is aimed at. This is different from YouTube videos, which only fill a portion of the screen unless the phone is tilted horizontally.
IGTV is an astute move by Facebook, which owns Instagram. The service is showing significant growth as it recently crossed the 1 billion user mark. What’s more, 72% of U.S. kids ranging from 13 to 17 years old use Instagram, second only to YouTube’s 85% in that age group, according to a recent survey by the Pew Research Center. Only 51% of people of that age group now use Facebook, which is way down from 71% from a similar Pew survey 3 years ago.
Strategically speaking, longer videos also provide more opportunities for advertising, which is what the company is really looking for. That’s also one of the things that hasn’t been addressed yet in that how advertising will play a part in the service. If it will feature pre-roll, mid-roll or post-roll adverts is unknown.
What’s also unknown is how creators will get paid for their content. Even though YouTube is often criticized for its low royalty split, it does pay content creators while Facebook still hasn’t figured that part out. Vine never paid its creators and eventually folded as creators left for YouTube, so revenue sharing is a big deal here.
So while it’s nice that IGTV has launched, but the revenue part of the announcement is really what everyone is waiting for.