Ever since Instagram launched IGTV, its long-form video-sharing app, we’ve all not stopped asking some basic questions. How exactly is the app different from YouTube? Is it even similar to YouTube? Should content creators switch from YouTube to IGTV? Will Instagram disrupt YouTube’s dominance as a video sharing platform? All these are important questions that need answers.
So, I decided to try out the IGTV app to understand and get a feel of how it differs from YouTube.
What is IGTV?
IGTV is a new app from Instagram that allows users to share long-form video contents. Before now, Instagram videos could not be longer than 60 seconds. The new video-sharing app removes this restriction, allowing users to post videos of up to 1 hour.
— Instagram (@instagram) June 20, 2018
This is a huge deal and effectively puts Instagram in YouTube’s territory: video-sharing. IGTV video contents can be accessed from within the Instagram app or can be viewed in the standalone IGTV app for Android and iPhone.
What Makes IGTV Similar to YouTube?
IGTV is a dedicated video-sharing platform, just like YouTube. However, while YouTube allows for videos up to 12 hours, Instagram’s platform offers lower. IGTV videos have a 60 min (1 hour) maximum video upload length.
Also like YouTube, IGTV videos are curated algorithmically. On YouTube, videos are ordered and recommended based on the interests and prior viewing history of users. Instagram has always used a similar algorithm to make content recommendations to its users. IGTV is expected to follow suit.
IGTV also allows users to follow multiple channels. Meaning users can choose which accounts to wish to view their contents.
The Obvious Differences
The Instagram video-sharing app has very striking differences from YouTube.
First, the IGTV videos are displayed in vertical mode. In other words, all videos display in portrait mode, and there’s no way to switch to the horizontal mode for the best viewing experience. Also, unlike YouTube, IGTV videos take up the full width of the phone. This gives a very unique viewing experience.
Additionally, IGTV uses a user interface that may not be totally understood. Designed to mimic a TV viewing experience, it would take some time for users to understand how the design actually works.
Second, unlike its rival, IGTV videos start playing immediately the app is opened. There is no time lapse (aside bandwidth speed) in between to allow the user to select the video they are interested in viewing first. That is a major turn off, but it is not totally unusual. Instagram has worked in similar fashion for years.
Third, the new video platform has little data saving measures. Just like YouTube a few years ago, IGTV has no option to save videos for offline viewing. This too is not weird, except for apps like Instasaver, Instagram works in a similar manner.
Furthermore, IGTV makes little options available to control data usage. There is no option to turn off autoplay and none to change the resolution of videos being streamed. These are major concerns.
Even YouTube has realized the implications of these issues and provided options to control data.
As cool as IGTV appears, it’s clear that plenty of work still needs to be done. We may already be used to vertical videos but video auto play and lack of data control measures are issues to still grapple with.
Nevertheless, the platform is a really interesting way for creators to get their contents to their followers. The platform already uses Instagram accounts, meaning if you follow someone on Instagram, you already follow them on IGTV. This gives creators access to the same fan base without stress.
In my opinion, IGTV is still not at par with YouTube; users are already wary of Instagram’s algorithm and could feel the same way about their video-sharing platform. Yet, only time will tell which platform will survive in the long-term.
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