Instagram Launches IGTV: Hour-Long Videos Coming To Instagram

Farai Mudzingwa Avatar

Last week, we talked about Instagram introducing a new format of videos that would have a maximum length of one-hour. We also had questions in relation to how exactly Instagram would advertise on this platform and some of the questions are now answered.

Unexpected twist

The reports concerning this new video format were along the lines that this service will be within the IG app and now we can confirm that will not be the case. The video’s will actually be on an entirely new application and they are calling it IGTV (Instagram TV).

The UI Tour of IGTV

You have to be on Instagram

It looks like IGTV will only be accessible if you have an Instagram account. Upon launching the app you’re asked to login to your IG account. This means if you are not interested in having an Instagram you have to steer clear for this one for now.

A UI that’s too simple

The interface of the app itself is very clean and concise. I don’t know if this makes sense but the interface is clean to a fault. There are no clearly outlined categories like Sport, Tech or Business. It seems a bit unfinished right now but maybe the type of videos content creators will be posting will make sense in this design.

The CEO of IG, Kevin Systrom says they made this design deliberately as they wanted to make something that they can just turn on and watch without having to search for content. He likened IGTV to a traditional television that people just turn on and watch but I don’t think that’s the way TV works nowadays.

When you turn on your TV you don’t watch whatever is showing, you actually look for content so I’m not really sure what he was alluding to and with popular services such as YouTube and Netflix making it easier to search specifically for what you want I’m not sure if just watching whatever pops up on your screen is an ideal experience. Anyway, those are judgements that can be made later.

The popular section didn’t seem to have much that I like and I’m not sure if this will stay like this or if it will get better with time. Hopefully the popular section will be adaptive and will give you popular videos based on channels that already interest you otherwise this will probably end up being a list of videos you’re not too interested in.

Users will be able to create their own channel on IGTV by simply going into the settings and tapping on the Create channel option. Users can also directly upload videos from their IGTV to their normal Instagram.

For now content creators (basically anyone who has created a channel) will be able to upload videos between 15 seconds and 10 minutes. Eventually, users will be allowed to upload videos that are unlimited in length.

Changes to come…

Right now, IGTV has no adverts but in future these will be added. Even the partners are not yet benefiting from IGTV yet as there are yet to agree on ways to share revenue. This will probably be hashed out once it’s clearer just how much IGTV will be making.

Eventually IGTV will also have a tab inside the standard Instagram application but this will probably become a reality once people have had a chance to get accustomed to the standalone-IGTV application and how it works. If they had just introduced it inside the Instagram app it would have been jarring to interact with these two different interfaces within the same app.

Data usage

For Zimbos this app will probably be out of reach unless you have wifi and a lot of data to spare. I used the application for less than 15 minutes and it consumed more than 127 MB. The app doesn’t seem to be data-concious and from the moment you get in the app videos are automatically playing. Even as you scroll through sections and look for videos, there is always a video playing in the background.

There doesn’t seem to be any way to lower the resolution of the video which means full HD videos just start streaming and these resolutions consume data like something else. Locally, I don’t think this one will be too much of a hit.

Not bad

When IGTV was rumoured I thought this was a bad idea and something Instagram should not pursue but having used the application and seen how they are doing it I must say it isn’t a bad idea. For Instagram the real test is how they get people to use the application as this will determine if IGTV will sink or swim.