On Wednesday, June 20, Instagram launched IGTV, “a new app for watching long-form, vertical video,” as the company’s own announcement regarding the new feature put it. IGTV is basically Instagram, the extended edition.
The app was designed for videos that are longer than sixty seconds. On the one hand, that looks a bit risky in a world of quickly digestible content. On the other hand, YouTube already exists, and it looks like IGTV is trying to compete with the video-sharing giant.
IGTV works as a stand-alone iOS or android app, if you’ve got the space on your phone for another one of those. However, IGTV is also built directly into the main Instagram app. If you’ve got Instagram on your phone, the new button for IGTV is right at the top of the app already, or it should be soon. That’s undoubtedly one way for the company to get people to use this new feature, without adding an extra step to the process.
The point of IGTV is that Instagram users can now create longer videos, which can potentially become more-engaging content for followers.
Unlike the standard Instagram app, videos on IGTV can be longer than a minute. In fact, every video can be up to an hour long, according to Instagram’s “Welcome to IGTV» blog post. That’s a lot more time to flesh out a series or sell a product or idea.
First of all, IGTV is specifically designed for your phone, which means that videos are full-screen and vertical. The app is optimized to work well with a device that you (probably) already use to take photos and videos daily.
And IGTV actually could not be simpler to use. Within the Instagram app, you simply click that new little button at the top, and IGTV boots up automatically.
In the IGTV app itself, you’ll see this photo when you first attempt IGTV out. I clicked to continue, and IGTV started up exactly the same way as it had within the regular Instagram app.
Once you’re in the app, regardless of how you got there, it’s very simple to navigate. you can select from categories like For You, popular and Continue watching, or explore for specific channels. And while a video is playing, you simply swipe up to get the search and For You, Following, etc. categories back on the main screen. I had to play around with it a bit to discover everything; however the features didn’t take me that long to figure out.
As described, IGTV has channels, very like regular TV does. However anyone will start them. You could make your IGTV channel resemble traditional TV by making an hour-long series and uploading videos once a week. Or half-hour-long sitcoms — pick your poison, really. The possibilities are endless.
Fans are already comparing IGTV to YouTube, which does technically have a number of its own programming. However Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom told the BBC’s Newsbeat that the videos on IGTV can be “more engaging and maybe more emotional”. I assume that is still to be seen, because the feature is still pretty new.
IGTV is on the market for both iOS and android users, therefore choosing between iPhones and android handset isn’t necessary.
Most users have access to IGTV right away, although when Instagram announced the feature at an event in San Francisco on June 20, the accompanying blog post said the app should be “rolling out globally over the next few weeks.” Some corners of the world might not have IGTV yet, however they should very soon.
Maybe you’ve been frustrated by the time limits on your Instagram videos. Or maybe you’ve dreamed of making some sort of Instagram series, but didn’t feel the app was quite right for your project. If so, IGTV could be a very exciting new feature for you.
IGTV might shake things up for video content on social media.
If you want to ride that wave, you should begin testing out IGTV now.