IGTV may sound like a morning show from the nineties, but it’s actually the latest offering from Facebook’s fun-loving filter-factory – Instagram.
Touted as a viable competitor to YouTube, IGTV allows Instagram’s over one billion active users to upload fully-streamable content without charge, and with only a few slightly annoying quirks (namely, that all videos must be in portrait mode and can’t be over 60 minutes in length). So far, so familiar – many have tried to knock YouTube off its perch, but from Vimeo to Vine, none have found mass adoption from the discerning cat-video-viewing public.
Critical to the new platform’s success will be capturing some of the high-value content creators that currently congregate almost exclusively in YouTube’s fabled “community”. Over the last 12 months, videos from the top 25 YouTube celebrities generated over 500 million views, three times more views on average than those made by traditional celebrities. Moving these film-makers across (and becoming the place where new creators establish themselves) will be absolutely key. IGTV does have a unique advantage that many of the previous generation of would-be YouTube slayers lacked – Instagram already has a booming crop of its own photo-based influencers. Now posting over 14.5 million sponsored posts a year, the top 50 image-sharers on Instagram have a combined follower count of over 2.5 billion users, and have been used to sell everything from smoothies to Škodas. Getting these users to swap from snapping to shooting could create the momentum necessary to launch IGTV as the next great video-sharing behemoth.
However the ongoing battle between Facebook and Google progresses, the proxy war between their two video-sharing brands can only be good news for consumers and content-creators. Over the last decade, YouTube has been the only game in town and (perhaps because of this) many have found it slow to react to the needs and wishes of its audience. Many I’m sure will welcome a new and dynamic challenger into this stagnant marketplace, especially one standing on the shoulders of an established social media giant. Even if YouTube retains its dominance in the years and months to come, it will have been forced into becoming a platform that’s more responsive to the needs of its users, which can only be a good thing.