YouTube has been the undisputed video sharing platform ever since people started posting videos online. It has everything a creator or a watcher needs – primarily a gigantic user base. It’s true there are no lifelong champions, but taking on a well-established platform like YouTube has always proved to be quite implausible.
There have been numerous attempts to usurp the throne by companies including Vimeo, Vine, Snapchat (SNAP) and Facebook (FB). But none tasted success as they trailed YouTube either in monetizing the platform or in creating a breakthrough user interface.
Then, on Wednesday, Instagram announced the launch of the IGTV, and social media platforms were barraged with skepticism on the practicability of vertical videos. Many users felt it’s absurd to compete with YouTube with the screen ratio restricted to portrait-only mode. However, IGTV’s potential for success lies in the fact that it never intends to replace YouTube, rather it aims to create a new segment in the video sharing space. If it really wanted to compete with YouTube, it wouldn’t have stuck with the vertical video format.
Also, IGTV is not your go-to place for your regular TV-show kind of content. It is more a niche space for vloggers, interview-format shows, and celebrity videos. The company has reportedly been reaching out to video creators to make short videos of around 10 minutes (vlog-like), though the platform actually allows the duration of up to 60 minutes. Clearly, Instagram wants to place IGTV somewhere between Snapchat and YouTube.
Setting apart the competition with YouTube, IGTV has everything an ordinary user would expect from a video platform. It already has over one billion monthly active users, thanks to its parent Instagram. So you can bet there will be no shortage of content here. Navigation is also simple, unlike Facebook Watch, as it has a discover option as well as hashtag support. If these are not enough, there is live-streaming of videos and Instagram Stories.
Vertical videos, like all new tech upgrades, may seem odd till they are familiarized with. But in the long-term, we see the trend catching up as they are tailor-made for specific kind of videos. In the end, we expect IGTV and YouTube to be competitors in the video-sharing segment, just like Facebook and Twitter (TWTR) in the social media space.