YouTube is so 2005
If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it’s probably a duck. Right?
But IGTV swears it’s not a duck. Or in this case, another YouTube competitor.
While it sure does look like one (albeit a vertical version), I actually have to side with Insta on this. If you’re one of the people who has used the platform for more than a couple of minutes, you probably agree with me—Instagram isn’t trying to compete with YouTube, it’s trying to supplement it.
Instagram is trying to capitalize on the space between high-quality YouTube videos and candid, on-the-go Stories updates.
Let’s remember, landscape video isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
Vertical video feels great when you’re flicking through quick clips on your phone, but it’s pretty annoying when you want to sit down and crank up Planet Earth 2.
Why is that?
Our natural field of vision is wider than it is tall. Or in other words, we see in a slightly “landscape” aspect ratio. Watching TV at home, going to the IMAX theater, and binging YouTube videos on your computer all feel natural because they emulate your natural field of vision.
It’s nice to make the most out of your phone’s screen real estate without forcing you to constantly rotate it, but consuming longer, more cinematic content vertically just doesn’t feel right. But again, according to Instagram’s promotional material for IGTV, that’s not really what they’re going after.
It’s more like a full-screen version of Instagram’s existing feed than it is a competitor to YouTube.
Chances are, most IGTV creators don’t care too much about shooting uncompressed footage and spending hours on cinema-quality edits. In fact, I’d be seriously surprised if IGTV was filled with anything other than five minute IG Stories and terrible optimizations of existing content from popular publishers.
Please prove me wrong.
In the right hands, IGTV could be seriously powerful. It’ll be really interesting to see how popular YouTubers that are also famous on Instagram end up using the platform, and whether or not it’ll eat into their YouTube views. For people that don’t have a YouTube following, IGTV could potentially make it quite easy for Instagram influencers to transition to long-form video without having to worry about building an audience from scratch.
I just hope that the platform ends up being more than a repository for vertical crops of VICE documentaries and slime videos that we’ve all already seen on YouTube and the Explore page.
- IGTV launched worldwide on June 20th
- Anything you can do, Instagram can do better (previously applied to Snapchat, now YouTube)
- Instagram followers automatically become IGTV followers, great for influencers that have already built an audience on the platform
- Operating mainly as a standalone—there’s no integration into the main feed or Explore page on Instagram’s main app
- Trying to position itself somewhere in between high-quality YouTube content and candid, on-the-go Stories updates