IGTV is an absolutely terrible idea that will eventually end up hurting both Instagram and content creators – just look at Vine.
The announcement of IGTV by Instagram is great for both Facebook’s stock and shareholders, but the new platform could ultimately fail, harming both the company itself and, more importantly, creators.
Before I get into the looming, obvious negative, there are several positives that should not be glossed over.
The concept of IGTV sounds amazing. A long-form video creator meant for professionals is something that has been needed for a while. Sure, there are several options available, but there is not a universal video platform in use by professionals at the moment. If IGTV could corner that market, it could be immensely successful.
In addition to this, YouTube needs competition. Changes to policies have hurt the creators, and we are seeing fewer and fewer opportunities to “make it big” on a platform that used to be at the forefront of creating stars out of everyday people.
Sounds pretty good so far, right?
However, where we get into the negatives stems from one question and one question only: How is IGTV going to make any money?
Variety is reporting that “at launch, IGTV will not feature any ads, and the company doesn’t yet have any revenue share agreements with creators in place.” Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom even said that the company was focused on building engagement.
This sounds like a great idea on paper. Engagement is important, and it seems to make sense that once the engagement is there the revenue will come.
However, that’s not how things work with social media, and we already have an example of this failing: Vine.
Vine was a phenomenal platform for engagement. Popular creators were everywhere, engagement was sky high and it targeted a demographic that advertisers love, but Vine’s inability to translate this into consistent revenue led to its failure.
In fact, Vine’s failure led to many of its creators jumping ship to YouTube. Their success without a proven revenue plan in place led to a rival expanding its reach.
Twitter is struggling with this problem now (but seems to be figuring it out), and IGTV will have an even harder time of this as a part of another social media site.
So, to Instagram: While IGTV sounds cool, learn from Vine. Figure out how to make money, then move on to engagement. You’re setting yourself up for failure.
And to creators: Just start out on YouTube and save yourself the trouble. You’ll probably end up there eventually, anyway.