The Rise of social media TV?


As Instagram invests in a new standalone video platform while YouTube integrates more social aspects, is the YouTube monopoly on online videos set to topple?

We’re seeing a rise in ‘social television’ led by IGTV and new vertical video formats popular on mobile devices with a greater focus on social interaction, so what does this mean for the major video-sharing platforms?

At the moment, YouTube is the most popular online video platform (with over a billion users), but it faces stiff competition and large controversies on an unpleasantly regular basis. One such competitor is shaping up to be Facebook-owned Instagram’s new video-only platform, IGTV.


Currently, Instagram are courting online marketers, adding socially-oriented features to appeal to content creators, and encouraging Instagram users to migrate to IGTV, though it’s anyone’s guess whether IGTV will become an industry giant like YouTube.

IGTV is Trying to be the Next Big Thing

No matter how much the Facebook-owned IGTV is hyped up, their success (or failure) is all down to how they choose to monetise this platform. Most video platforms live or die by how they treat professional content creators – like PewDiePie or T-Series – and how easily these creators can monetise their online presence.


Though it may seem cynical, it really is all about the money; the professional creators which attract the most viewers often rely upon these platforms as their main source of income. If these creators cannot profit off IGTV, they will take their content and their audiences elsewhere, which leaves the platform high and dry, much like Vine.

It’s All About the Money – Will IGTV Pay its Creators well?

IGTV is said to be considering an ad revenue scheme like Facebook Watch, which interrupts videos with un-skippable ads and gives 55% of ad revenue to creators and publishers. If IGTV can better incorporate sponsorships and/or boosted posts as with Instagram and Facebook, then the video platform could be lucrative for influencers and sponsors alike.


Instagram currently enjoys some 1 billion users and almost all influencer campaigns use Instagram, so IGTV is in the interesting position of fighting to convert rather than attract its audience.

Can IGTV Influence the Influencers?

One thing that puts IGTV above the competition is its verticality – it is the first long-form vertical video sharing platform – which will hopefully encourage more mobile users towards the program. However, the new platform currently lacks the clout of YouTube or the extensive video libraries of competing video platforms, so building up a loyal audience could be the boost IGTV needs.


Unlike social media platforms – of which Instagram is a very large player – one of the largest factors for video-sharing platforms is their content or lack thereof. Most regular YouTube users keep coming back for the creators that they love or topics they are interested in, such as the wealth of gaming and musical content on the platform.

What Does IGTV Have to Set Itself Apart?

Unlike other video-sharing platforms, IGTV has a massive potential audience and its parent platform (Instagram) is an increasingly popular place to advertise, as there were 1 million users and 2.1 million sponsored posts last year, up 39% from the year before. However, getting those users and advertisers to migrate to IGTV could prove challenging, as Instagram is currently the place to see and be seen while video platforms are more entertainment focussed.


But with the right incentives – such as revenue sharing from sponsorships – IGTV could persuade the big talents and influencers to come over from Instagram. Who knows, the push towards video content might even make a few playwrights out of posers, too!

A Change of Pace or a Shift Away from Instagram’s Successful Formula?

As IGTV is still in its infancy, it has been struggling to find a niche or a key audience unlike its competitors – Snapchat, Twitch and YouTube, among others – which already have a large roster of top creators.


Only time will tell, but IGTV might provide a viable alternative to YouTube, giving users a new source of expression and entertainment with a twist: 90 degrees of difference!

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