Instagram is shifting its position on IGTV, opening it up to support horizontal videos.
IGTV is a long-form video platform launched last year, as part of the photo app’s attempt to build a YouTube rival among its community. Despite a large number of users, though, Instagram is failing to find momentum for its video sharing arm. The app has been chopping and changing to get the recipe right, including enabling creators to publish previews of IGTV videos to their Instagram feed, adding another way for viewers to discover IGTV videos.
Now, it’s making another change with the introduction of landcsape videos, making the platform friendlier to content like dance and sports, as opposed to intimate videos focused up-close on one person.
“We’ve heard from creators who want to upload landscape videos for IGTV. Similarly, we’ve heard from viewers who come across landscape videos in IGTV but want to watch them in a more natural way,” said Instagram in a blog post. “That’s why we’re announcing support for landscape videos in addition to vertical. Ultimately, our vision is to make IGTV a destination for great content no matter how it’s shot so creators can express themselves how they want.”
“In many ways, opening IGTV to more than just vertical videos is similar to when we opened Instagram to more than just square photos in 2015,” added the site, acknowledging that it’s a big step from Instagram’s vertical-only stance that it once argued made it unique compared to YouTube. “It enabled creativity to flourish and engagement to rise – and we believe the same will happen again with IGTV.”
Instagram has also shaken up the way its feed works, using a vertical scroll of suggested videos chosen by algorithm, rather than category-based browsing.
But perhaps the biggest shortfall for IGTV at present is the lack of monetisation within the platform, which means that creators have little reason to share videos – unlike YouTube, where the backbone of its platform is revenue and advertising for uploaders.
“We’ve learned and grown a lot in this first year,” admitted Instagram. “In meeting with creators and viewers, we’ve heard about what they like – and what needs to be improved. In fact, that feedback has driven many of IGTV’s biggest changes so far.”
“We’ll continue to evolve to not only help you grow your communities, but build your businesses across IGTV and Instagram,” commented the site, in what is likely a nod to its ongoing plans to introduce some form of monetisation. Until then, however, Instagram is still lagging behind in the video race, no matter how you look at it.