Instagram launched IGTV last month as it celebrated the achievement of reaching one billion users on the platform. Touted as a TV alternative in their announcement, IGTV offers various features to users who like to post more than just photos of their meals on their feeds.
But with so many video services competing for your views, does IGTV have a unique factor which can attract viewers and creators alike? Let’s find out.
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1. Native Portrait Video Support
We hold our smartphones in portrait mode by default, most of the time. So why should you rotate your phone to watch a video? IGTV's main feature seems to be inspired by this thought.
Portrait video is the default view for videos in the app. You can't landscape the orientation of videos even if you go fullscreen or rotate your device. Thus IGTV encourages it's creators to make videos in portrait mode.
Cool Tip: YouTube too supports Portrait Video in its app, provided the video is shot vertically.
2. No Limits on Video Lengths
Instagram added video support sometime in 2013. Initially users could upload only 15 seconds of video which was further extended to 1 minute.
IGTV doesn't have this limit but Instagram mentioned in their announcement post that videos can be up to an hour Long. So not entirely limit-free. But I don't see this as a problem as most popular of the videos average about 10 mins.
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3. Creators = Channels
While Instagram has projected IGTV as the competitor to TV, we all know the real competitors are the other popular streaming services like Vimeo, Dailymotion, and the big elephant in the room, YouTube. So comparisons are bound to arise.
Just as YouTube has channels, IGTV has Creators, which are channels with same name as the Creators Instagram ID. And similar to YouTube, there are For You( Recommended), Popular(Trending) and Following(Subscriptions) sections which show the relevant videos.
4. Smartphone Only ... For Now
Currently, IGTV has apps for only two smartphone platforms, Android & iOS. And it's app-accessible only. Meaning there is no website you can head to on your laptop or PC for a bigger screen experience.
Instagram has also not indicated any plans to support other platforms in their announcement blog. But it may change in future as IGTV's all main competitors, well except TV, have a front-end website as well as apps.
5. Content ... or Lack Thereof
The biggest feature or attraction of any streaming service, audio or video, is the content. More diverse and quality content attracts more viewers. Unfortunately, IGTV is very much lacking in this area. But it's understandable as the new platform is hardly a month old.
The majority of content you will find is already uploaded videos of existing Instagram users and mostly re-uploaded YouTube videos by popular YouTube Channels. And get ready to see black bars as many of the uploaded YouTube videos are shot in widescreen aspect ratio.
So Is IGTV Worth Your Time?
Currently, in its infancy, IGTV is the new thing that everyone wants to check out and get onto, but it quickly gets boring. Lack of content is the major hindrance right now. But that will change as the word spreads and more quality content creators get on-board.
But for that to happen, IGTV needs to get things right. Portrait mode videos are cool and unique but landscape options should be made available. Finally app-only access for a video streaming service is restrictive for viewers. Let's hope Instagram fixes these soon.
So what do you think of IGTV? Will you be spending your time on it? Let us know in the comments.