INSTAGRAM GETS A VIDEO-ONLY VERTICAL PLAYING APP.
Free | www.instagram.com
Everyone loves content, but increasingly, everyone loves creating content, too. Since Instagram added video functionality to its core application in 2016, what the app has lost in simplicity it’s gained in popularity. For many, presumably younger people, on-the-go video content is a daily staple in their media diet, to the extent that there’s a burgeoning trend for video content to be created with portrait orientation in mind, all the better to consume on a phone screen.
IGTV is effectively a free video streaming service, but the video you’re getting is, well, Instagram stuff. During the first five minutes spent using IGTV, we saw a pretty even split between scantily clad women addressing the camera and... zany injury montages. Instagram is a breeding ground for ‘influencers’, you see, a new type of celebrity adept at subtly selling stuff to their audience. It’s hard to dismiss these new cultural figures out of hand because the descriptor ‘influencer’ can apply to virtually any interest or topic. But it’s fair to say that anyone above the age of 35 will likely be perplexed by what passes as entertainment on this app.
In some ways, IGTV neatly encapsulates how media in general is changing. Rarely does a video on IGTV last longer than a minute, and the app is geared towards delivering an endless stream of material which can feasibly be viewed with the sound down in busy public spaces. The app will try to deliver material based on what you’ve already viewed, and it’s possible to follow other IGTV users that cater to your interests. But it’s unclear whether the app will see much uptake beyond your typical youth-oriented YouTube personality fodder.
Of course, it’s possible to create your own channel and upload your own videos, so if you’re unhappy with what IGTV has to offer, you could always be the change you want to see. But with a UI that seems geared more towards showing featured content, rather than promoting discoveribility, it might be a while before we know how much impact IGTV can have.