Imagine Pitching Instagram TV as a Concept

In his latest upload, photographer James Popsys reveals his thoughts on Instagram's newest video sharing option, IGTV.

When Instagram launched IGTV a few weeks ago, many people, including myself, were left a bit perplexed. What part of the market are they going for, exactly? They seem to be trying to gobble up some of YouTube's revenue, but how many people will want to watch hour-long videos through a tiny window. Nonetheless, it's another way of marketing and a new platform for creativity, so any business worth its salt is going to be keeping a close eye on it to figure out new ways to advertise, while creatives try different methods to disseminate their talents in this vertical space. 

Popsys seems to be equally confused. To illustrate his confusion, he gives an analogy placing us, the viewer, in the shoes of a Facebook intern walking into a meeting and pitching the concept of Instagram as we now see it. You start with the idea of Instagram and the heads nod in approval. Next, you mention eating Snapchat through 10-second videos called Stories, that disappear after 24 hours; all good. Then, for some reason, the videos can be permanent. Lastly, Instagram can also have hour-long videos, which are hosted on a different app but you can view them on the regular Instagram app. Oh, and the videos are only in vertical format. Bewilderment sets in.

Popsys says there are two ways to approach this based on how companies, in general, react to new social media features; 1) freak out and throw crap at it until something sticks, or 2) wait to see if this helps to propel a message. He thinks the latter, and I'm inclined to agree.

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13 Comments

Christopher Eaton's picture

Say no to vertical video.

Pat Heine's picture

Why? Do you say "no" to vertically oriented stills as well?

16mm Camera's picture

They’re completely different mediums, you can’t compare the two.

Saying no to vertical video doesn’t mean it doesn’t work for stills.

Pat Heine's picture

You can compare them now!

The difference is you just don't want to shoot vertical video, not that it can't work.

16mm Camera's picture

Compare what now? Vertical video works yes, technically you turn the camera 90 degrees or rotate the image 90 degrees. My point was to counter your point which stated simply that because you can shoot stills vertical you can shoot video vertical.

You can, but doesn't mean it will be as aesthetically pleasing to it's audience.

Because video represents closer to how our eyes and mind interpret light (wider horizontal field of view) the look of vertical video has an aesthetic that isn't pleasing to everyone.

Pat Heine's picture

My point was, if you can make vertical stills pleasing, then you can certainly make it pleasing as video.

16mm Camera's picture

Right, but the thing is perception with video vs stills. Stills don't replicate in anyway how we as humans physically SEE the world. Video does, so when the horizontal portion of the video is cut off the general perception of that is not aesthetically pleasing to many because of how we see the world every day. People are longer than they are wider so portrait images work when the focus is the individual. It rarely works outside of that and still holds.

You can disagree that's fine, but my point is vertical photo and video don't correlate in anyway shape or form for me. A cinematographer for 25 years.

Christopher Eaton's picture

As stated by 16mm Camera, video replicates how we see the world and we see the world in motion not as a still. I have yet to ever see vertical video that is pleasing and properly represents the action. Vertical video is a function of laziness and lack of care any the shooter. I once tried to watch a live product announcement by two guys at a company and they were doing it in vertical video. It was awkward and hard to watch. They practically had to kiss to both be in the frame.

There is literally nothing anyone can say to defend vertical video.

Chelsea Nicole's picture

Love the analogy - hilarious! 😂 I agree that watching hour long videos from your phone might be a stretch (at least initially.) But I think 2-5min videos (or maybe even 10mins they're highly engaging) could work well on the platform. Like anything new it will require some figuring out and there's some things it's lacking currently - but I think IGTV has a ton of potential and is especially great for creators who have a larger following on IG or as an opportunity to connect with your audience there in a new way. Time will tell, but I'm both curious and excited to see how it evolves.

Pat Heine's picture

At least for the vast majority of users, 10min is the upload limit. Only large accounts & verified users can post longer (I could see organizations like CNN, etc. posting long-form content to IGTV).

Maximilian Sulzer's picture

I also replied that on youtube. The biggest issues with IG TV is, that its only usable on the phone (and tablet maybe), so a video maker chooses a limited reach. A horizontal youtube video can be watched on any device, Phone, tablet, PC, Laptop, TV...
I myself watch 90% of videos on the Laptop or TV.

Jonathan Reid's picture

Do you think IG will phase this out quietly like Google + or abruptly end it with an app update?

16mm Camera's picture

Quietly I suspect if nonone is using it. The stink happens when active users moan about it.

It’s still early days but waiting to see where people take it. So far I’m not overly impressed with what I’ve seen. But giving it some warm up room.