Instagram has plans to start its own TV “channel”, but is this really surprising? I mean Facebook has been doing this for a little while now, and they’ve even started talking about original content. While I’m not sure that Facebook is the right platform for a TV “channel”, I do think Instagram might be. Why? Well, Instagram is that visual medium and Facebook feels like a catchall. They feel like they’re trying to be everything to everyone. With Instagram, it feels more natural. My next question is whether this is in an attempt to compete with YouTube?
To clarify – when I say channel, it’s not actually a channel, but I’m struggling to find the word to describe it. Some are using the word “hub”, but that doesn’t sound quite right. Regardless, you will be able to watch “long-form” videos on Instagram starting on Wednesday. The hub will reportedly be part of the platform’s Explore tab and will feature YouTube-like vlogs around 10 minutes long. While a previous Wall Street Journal report said Instagram will be able to support videos up to an hour in length, the Facebook-owned social network apparently decided to focus on shorter content by internet celebrities instead of by big publishers and TV studios. Which, I think, is a smart move.
People don’t necessarily want to sit and watch an hour long video on Instagram. I have a hard time watching videos on Instagram that are longer than 2 minutes. Usually, because I’m watching them in my office and I don’t want to get caught, so an hour is far too long for me. It’s also being reported that Instagram met with online content creators over the past week, in order to encourage them to shoot 10-minute videos. But again, I think this will be great. For example, this morning, I was watching an Instagram Story from a fitness account that I follow. She had to break her Story up into like 5 parts in order for me to watch the whole thing because it was too long. Not having to break it up, in my opinion, would be beneficial.
Originally, when we heard that Instagram was going to allow a one hour video, many suggested that this was going to pit Instagram against streaming services like Netflix and Hulu. Huh? Again, I’m not going to Instagram to watch an entire TV show. I do that on my television or tablet, or any other way, but certainly not on my phone. That’s why I think that this whole thing fails. People think that a social media company is going to be able to curate content from its users in order to compete with Stranger Things or 13 Reasons Why. But that doesn’t even make sense. Sure, this will likely pit Instagram against YouTube, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. YouTube could improve its game and I think that this kind of competition won’t hurt anything.
Instagram sent out press invites for an event on June 20th at 9 am. Presumably to announce this new feature. How creators will make money from this feature is that videos will have a link-out option, which will allow the creators to drive traffic to their own websites or stores. My only concern with this is that it will become a mass marketing tool, rather than a place I go to learn about things and hear people’s stories.