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Five Things You Need To Know About Instagram TV

By Diana Brown, PPMG Summer Intern

Instagram just announced the launch of Instagram TV. Here is what you need to know:

1. Time is the Enemy of Creativity

Upon its initial release, IGTV is allowing users with a large following to post hour-long videos, while accounts with less of a following will be limited to 10 minutes. Eventually, the app will allow everyone to post content of up to an hour long. It will still require a special breed of video to command 60 minutes of attention, or even 10 minutes for that matter, but the new expanded time parameters are sure to unshackle any creativity that was previously stifled by Instagram’s time constraints. 

2. Get Vertical

Forget everything you were told about shooting all videos in landscape orientation. IGTV is doubling down on mobile video by only accepting videos that are in the (9:16) vertical orientation. This qualification means no more fussing over rotating your phone back and forth when watching content; rather; every video meets the same standards and the viewer’s experience is simplified. It also means that it is going to be difficult to fill in your brand channel with existing brand videos unless they were filmed in a 9:16 ratio. The vertical requirement makes it more likely that content will be IGTV-exclusive, as most other video-centric platforms accept both types of orientations.

3. It's Feedless

IGTV eliminates the traditional Instagram feed format and instead attempts to mimic the experience of watching actual television for app users, that is, if you watch your television on its side (refer to previous point about orientation). There are four simple categories on IGTV: videos selected for you based on your interests; videos made by anyone that you already follow on Instagram; videos that are popular among users as a whole; and videos that you were previously watching and can resume. The structure of IGTV eliminates the bulkiness and “white space” of the classic Instagram feed and places the focus on the filling the screen with content.

4. Is it an App or a Feature?

IGTV is now available for some users via a small button on the upper right of the normal Instagram feed. In the coming weeks, Instagram will be rolling out the stand-alone IGTV app, which essentially provides the same service as the button, but allows users to access content directly. Having the ability to access IGTV independently of the Instagram app differentiates the content that is posted on both platforms, and essentially lets users tune in without having to first engage in their Instagram feed. 

5. NO ADS!!! or NO ADS?

Don’t get so excited consumers, and don’t get too disappointed, brand marketers. Also, don’t forget that Instagram is still owned by Facebook. As IGTV is still in its initial phases, it has yet to integrate advertising into its business plan, if it even has a business plan at this point. Rest assured that brands are already salivating at the potential that this new platform offers. The exciting question is what form the advertisements it will take. As longer-form videos provide such incredible real estate for marketers, the creators of IGTV are already hinting that the advertising overlay might look more like a monetary relationship between brand and content creator. Like the creepy voice in that cornfield said: If you build it, they will come. Enough said.  

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