Instagram was born as a simple photo-sharing app in 2010, but it began moving into video in 2013, when it started letting users upload short clips. Now, five years after making that initial push into the space, the company plans to take its efforts even further with the launch of IGVT. It’s a standalone app that’ll feature vertical videos up to an hour long, which is major shift from the one-minute time limit on Instagram. IGTV will also have a dedicated space in the main Instagram app, in case you want to watch these videos in the same place you look at pictures and Stories. With creators including Fortnite champ Ninja and singer Lele Pons on board, it’s clear Instagram wants to lure internet personalities like them to IGTV — even if it can’t pay them just yet.
Although CEO Kevin Systrom did tell a group of reporters that monetization options will be available to IGTV users down the road, Instagram missed a huge opportunity to become a serious threat to YouTube on day one. Especially as YouTubers are desperately looking for alternatives to Google’s video site. The company is continuously changing its advertising guidelines — which affects how channels earn money. Last year, during an effort to automatically demonetize offensive videos, YouTube ended up stripping innocent creators of revenue. It eventually made amends and fixed its mistake, but not before it led to an avalanche of very public complaints from YouTubers about what they called “adpocalypse.”These constant shifts in YouTube’s monetization rules, and its algorithms, have led some creators to have public breakdowns and address growing mental health problems caused by the anxiety of their jobs. The pressure of having to constantly produce new content, while worrying about whether their videos may end up violating the service’s ad guidelines, has become a stressful ordeal. So, for those making a living out of YouTube, other sources of revenue would be more than welcome.
This should be where IGTV comes in. But Instagram decided to push its product out the door without any of the tools necessary for creators to actually make money. Of course, it could easily run into similar issues as Google. But YouTube’s problems are well-documented and could provide a rough roadmap for what to do and what not to. Even though Instagram doesn’t have a way to pay creators yet, there’s obvious interest from some of the world’s biggest — as shown by Ninja and Lele Pons’ presence at the launch event. And that shouldn’t come as a surprise, since it would be a mistake for any of them to ignore an app that now has 1 billion monthly active users and counting.
“We’re not starting there because we’re trying to just give a good consumer experience,” Ashley Yuki, Instagram’s product manager, told Engadget about the decision to leave ads out of IGTV at first. These videos can have links in their description, which could direct