Eight-year-old photo and video-sharing application Instagram is expanding its offering beyond its original usage as an app for sharing pretty photos and short videos, to be a more expressive networking application with the additional video sharing feature that will last for close to 1 hour no more its initial one-minute peak video. The new service is called IGTV and it will increase usage of the social network and drive direct competition with video-sharing website YouTube and parent company, Facebook.
Instagram decided to hinge its video service, IGTV, on people’s natural ways of watching and recording videos on their smartphones: vertically. Previously, Instagram was distinguished by its peculiar content framed in a square (1:1) aspect ratio. In 2015, these restrictions were eased and now the videos can be shot at any ratio.
Although IGTV is still coupled to Instagram, the company has stated that in a few weeks, it will begin offering IGTV as its own stand-alone app. Currently, Instagram allows users to upload photos and videos which can be edited with various filters, organized with tags and location information and permits posts to be shared publicly or with pre-approved followers.
Instagram became a subsidiary of Facebook in 2012 when it acquired the application for $1 billion cash and stock when the photo-sharing service had only 30 million users. By 2018, Instagram’s patronage skyrocketed to a billion active monthly users.
With 1 billion customers, Instagram is here to stay and with its additional debuted IGTV, it is ready to compete with Google’s 1.9 million YouTube users and Facebook’s 2.2 billion monthly users who are gradually becoming to accustomed to watching videos.
By adding longer videos to its platform Instagram intensifies its competition with YouTube ,which, along with moving towards being a stand-alone television application, has extended it social-network-like features to allow creators communicate more easily with fans. From inception, YouTube and Instagram are the two primary platforms where creators build an audience to make money from advertising, sponsorship deals or merchandise.
As each platform copies and adapts features from rivalling application to better theirs and add more exciting components to keep existing users and lure new users, Instagram’s chief executive Kevin Systrom initially said IGTV will not advertise at first, but later added the company wants to do what’s “fair” for creators in the future. YouTube splits advertising revenue with content creators, something Instagram has not started offering.
Speaking on the innovativeness of Instagram’s video service, Kevin Systrom said, “Video is the way we hang out with friends, the way we pass the time, but the way we watch it is changing. He also said that “Teens might be watching less TV, but they’re watching more creators online.”
Instagram monitors inappropriate content and plans to be stricter with the additional video time, so it does not suffer what YouTube’s past predicament—a deluge of troublesome videos that has driven some advertisers from the platform. For now, Instagram has said its 1-hour video would be limited to a certain number of users. Most users will have a 10 minutes video cap, although this will be temporary. The longterm goal is for users to have no time limits.