IGTV: a meal crammed into a snack
The article talks to creators and users about why they’re not particularly bothered by Instagram’s long(er)-form video hub. It doesn’t get many views, complain the creators. Instagram should fix its algorithm before trying to get us to use something new, users grumble.
But the nub of the problem for me is this: IGTV is at odds with what Instagram is all about. You go to Instagram for a quick hit – a few photos, maybe a few seconds of video, and that’s it. Switch over to IGTV’s longer videos, and it messes with your brain’s expectations. You suddenly jump from a snack to a meal. Over on YouTube, it’s the opposite – you expect a meal.
If I open IGTV I find pretty much the same content as I’ll find in my YouTube subscriptions, but wrapped up in a sub-optimal viewing experience because creators are just uploading their horizontal videos into an interface designed for vertical video.
I’m sure IGTV sounded great as an internal pitch: 'people love Instagram, people love YouTubers, people love vertical video – let’s bring them all together and profit!’
But failure for IGTV to 'land’ with its audience shows how Facebook’s tactic of leveraging its dominance of the social media space to crush rivals doesn’t work every time. And the 'snack vs meal’ problem is compounded by the confusion that IGTV is crammed into an already overly busy app, and that it’s also a standalone app.
IGTV is an unfocused product that is trying to do too much and not quite enough, all at the same time.