At a time when families and teens are cutting the cord with traditional TV viewing, Instagram has introduced IGTV (Instagram’s take on and rival to YouTube), a new vertical video format available directly in Instagram, as well as in the new stand-alone IGTV app, which can run for up to one hour.
With one billion Instagram users, a social media platform like IGTV has the opportunity to become the next big broadcast channel. You might be thinking that long-form vertical videos won’t be very popular, but as Kevin Systrom, co-founder and CEO of Instagram points out, “The tools we watch video on are old and out of date. We still watch videos formatted for TV on a vertical screen.”
And in 2017 Facebook revealed that its users were more likely to watch this format than traditional 16:9 videos, so it makes sense for Instagram to offer this viewing format.
Like TV, IGTV has channels, but the creators (or the brand) are the channels. When you follow a creator/brand on Instagram, their IGTV channel will show up for you to watch. Anyone can be a creator and post video content of up to one hour.
It’s going to be interesting to see how brands use this latest platform. There has already been plenty of experimentation with the technology with many big-name brands like Netflix, Nike and Manchester City testing it out, with content ranging from funny one-offs to interviews with influencers.
Netflix used the 60-minute video feature to play a full hour of actor Cole Sprouse eating a burger. The video has so far received 929,000 views and over 6,000 comments. Nike Football (soccer) posted an animation featuring Christiano Ronaldo as part of the FIFA World Cup campaign, the footage has received 246,000 views and 107 comments.
Adverts aren’t currently available on Instagram TV, but apparently they will be in the future and this will be another way for brands to reach their customers.
As with all new social media platforms, brands will need to decide if this is right for them. But with a whole new generation of people born with the ability to shoot and record video on smartphones, can it be avoided?