Instagram announces new IGTV feature

Upload 60 minutes of video with Instagram TV

Instagram has announced the launch of IGTV, a new Instagram TV feature. Previously, users could only create and upload videos up to a minute long on their main feed and 15 seconds long in their stories (which also disappear after 24 hours). Dialogue’s social media whizz Vicki Sherman evaluates what this will mean for brands.

One of the main differences is that IGTV will display videos vertically as opposed to the current horizontal format most videos default into. The team at Instagram wanted to give users the ability to create their videos on their phones without additional equipment and in the way most people use them.

IGTV will be available as standalone app or as an extra feature on the current Instagram app, allowing users to start watching IGTV content from accounts they already follow. Kevin Systrom (pictured above), Co-Founder & CEO on Instagram, said: “IGTV begins a new chapter of video on Instagram.”

The announcement came as Instagram announced that it had reached a staggering one billion users.

It’s not yet clear how, or if, Instagram intends to build functionality for advertisers, but it does boast that IGTV begins playing as soon as you open the app.

IGTV, the newest Instagram feature

In the last few years we’ve seen Instagram build in new functionality to match competing social platforms. The introduction of videos on Instagram came just after a boom in the popularity of Vine, which closed down more than a year ago. The introduction of Instagram stories also came after the rise in popularity of Snapchat, which enabled users to share and send temporary images and videos.

Is this latest move by Instagram an attempt to bridge the gap between itself and rival social giant Youtube, which is owned by Google? Or is the platform just developing naturally and moving in the direction users now demand? It’s probably the latter as the platform is building upon it’s already existing video functionality but I’m sure people will speculate that the rivalry with Google has played a small part too.

For me, the next big jump will be users creating their own immersive 3D experiences and we’ll see phones, 3D headsets and social platforms all become more integrated with each other. This will build on the current basic functionality of uploading 360-degree videos and viewing them by scrolling around the environment on a phones or (ideally) on a 3D headset. However, with the current price and technology limitations I think we’re still a few years away from that.

IGTV has now started to roll out on iOS and Android and you can see the new icon above the stories bar.

But what could yet prove problematic is giving users another type of content stream to engage with – especially on a platform that is small-screen first where simplicity is particularly key and where they’ve grown used to snacking on images and short-form content.

Of course, this development may be a way of the platform gradually helping us shift towards longer-form content consumption.

For example, Facebook stories may seem like the poor relation to Snapchat or Instagram stories – are you watching or using the Facebook version?! – but it’s reported that they have proven popular among younger users. However, every social media trend has started with a younger demographic and moved up in terms of age, so it will be interesting to see how or if IGTV develops – sure, there’s a point for some Insta creators but will too much choice or a content overload leave users bewildered or even make them disconnect altogether?