In June 2018, Instagram IGTV- a new long-form video option for their one billion-strong user base.

Designed specifically for vertical video, IGTV exists as a separate button at the top-right of the Instagram app. Upon entering, you’re presented with video content from the accounts you follow, along with popular and tailored content ‘for you’.

Instagram users have long been able to share video, but the main difference with IGTV is that it allows up to 10 minutes and for selected large accounts up to one hour of video content to be published (as opposed to the one minute standard video allowance).

Thoughts about IGTV inevitably turn to YouTube; is this a direct competitor for the world’s largest and most popular video sharing site?

We don’t think so – yet. Here’s why.

IGTV isn’t a search engine

It’s easy to look past the fact the YouTube is actually the world’s 2nd largest search engine behind Google.

People often start their journey on YouTube, but even if Google is your main search engine of choice for finding videos, you’ll inevitably end up on their video platform. And, once there, the intuitive search features and recommendations do a great job of reeling you in and keeping you engaged for much longer than you might have intended.

By comparison, IGTV simply suggests and let’s you browse by selecting tabs like: For You, Following & Popular. While you can easily view trending videos, videos from the accounts you follow and those that the service has curated for you, there’s no proper search option. So, you get what you’re given.

Ironically, this means that if you search for how to create an IGTV video, you’ll almost definitely end up on YouTube.

The IGTV video format is not what the most of video content creators are used to

One can see why Instagram have opted for a vertical video format with IGTV; it’s how we hold our smartphones and it’s the way many people take photos and record videos with their phones.

For some content creators, however, this will be extremely limiting. Wide-angle video is standard on TV and in the cinema, and the YouTube stars of today have long followed that format.

Some have experimented with vertical video, although it’s fair to say this usually results in IGTV simply being used as a ‘teaser’ or introduction to the full-length, widescreen version that resides on YouTube.

watching video content on mobile

The revenue model for content creators doesn’t appear to have been finalised

Anyone can create their own IGTV channel and begin posting content – it’s straightforward and there are no sign-up forms (providing you have an Instagram account) or premium subscriptions – and the same goes for viewers.

YouTube offers creators way to monetise their content, and at the moment, IGTV doesn’t have any direct monetisation features for content creators.

Although it’s impossible to know unless you’re sat around the Instagram board table, it does appear that IGTV is very much in its experimentation phase. After all, Instagram – like any social media company – needs to generate revenue to be sustainable, and if initial take up of IGTV is slow, they’d be forgiven for putting the entire service down to experience.

By comparison, YouTube’s revenue model is very well established and profitable for Google. Which means it isn’t going anywhere just yet!

Final thought: it’s not all bad for IGTV

IGTV is a fascinating addition to Instagram’s selection of content options, and while, in our opinion, it isn’t a worthy competitor for YouTube just yet, given the sheer size of Instagram’s user base, it will demand plenty of attention.

As is often the case, its success will come down to two things; uptake by influencers and mass adoption by users. We’ll certainly be watching its progress very closely!