In 2018, Instagram launched its long-form video feature, IGTV (Instagram TV). But recently Instagram removed the IGTV button from the app. A report rolled out by TechCrunch.
IGTV button that appears on the top right side, Instagram launched a dedicated app for IGTV, but out of 7 million+ user base, only 1 million users managed to download the app and utilize the platform.
If we talk only about the US, TikTok app received more than 80 million downloads compared to UGTV’s 1.1 million.
“As we’ve continued to work on making it easier for people to create and discover IGTV content, we’ve learned that most people are finding IGTV content through previews in Feed, the IGTV channel in Explore, creators’ profiles and the standalone app. Very few are clicking into the IGTV icon in the top right corner of the home screen in the Instagram app. We always aim to keep Instagram as simple as possible, so we’re removing this icon based on these learnings and feedback from our community.” Said by a spokesperson from Facebook (Source)
There was no reason to launch a whole new app against a feature that was already working well on the app. Users still can discover videos through exploring feed, and once the view limit is over, they can still tap on the video and get redirected to IGTV in-app.
But as per Facebook, they wanted an Instagram app to be as simple and minimalistic which motivated them to launch a dedicated app for IGTV. But with time, they realized that there was not an overwhelming response while during this time, its competitor apps gained an edge.
One major thing that’s missing on IGTV is that creators are not being monetized for creating videos. Users can’t get ad revenue share like that on YouTube or Facebook Watch.
The only financial support Instagram offered to IGTV creators is reimbursements for production costs for a few celebrities. But the contract comes with a condition that videos should not be related to politics, social issues or elections.
“In the last few years we’ve offset small production costs for video creators on our platforms and have put certain guidelines in place,” a Facebook spokesperson told Bloomberg. “We believe there’s a fundamental difference between allowing political and issue-based content on our platform and funding it ourselves.” That seems somewhat hypocritical given Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s criticism of Chinese app TikTok over censorship of political content.
When a lack of monetization combined with fewer views on videos as compared to YouTube and TikTok is presented in front of the Instagram audience, they will not have any reason to use the IGTV platform as much as they use others.
Instagram is now on a journey to set IGTV deep into its app rather than rolling the same in the form of a dedicated app. You can opt to post IGTV videos right from the main Instagram feed post video uploader.
Instagram’s co-founder Kevin Systrom described IGTV as “What I’m most proud of it is that Instagram took a stand and tried a brand-new thing that is frankly hard to pull off. A full-screen vertical video that’s mobile-only, which doesn’t exist anywhere else”
If Instagram still cares about IGTV, it needs to attract more viral videos by helping creators with monetization plans it needs to pour investment into buying high-quality programming like that of Snapchat Discover’s Shows.
For an app that has won hearts by making people talk through pictures, IGTV seems like a half-baked recipe to roll out videos as well. While Instagram tries to bring out the best of IGTV, it facing crazy competition from TikTok, Snapchat, and other video/photo apps.
Instagram drops IGTV because it was not a well-planned move and while all this experimentation was going on, newbies like TikTok (and others) started eating up a userbase of Instagram.
The sooner the better it is! With Instagram realizing that it’s better to sink this feature in-app rather than diverting userbase from one app (Instagram) to another app (IGTV app) just to create long videos. This is why, Instagram drops IGTV, and Instagram gets back to simplicity.
However, if you find any video in the explore feed, you can still see them, without being asked to redirect to another app or without asking you to watch the same on IGTV.
It’s a wise move that Instagram drops IGTV from its app and made the platform simple with another feature added where users don’t need to go anywhere else. Had this been rolled out before, things might have been different by now (in favor of Instagram).