Instagram’s IGTV launched four months ago. The long-form video feature shows videos up to 60 mins, whereas Instagram videos go up to to 60 secs. The feature got off to a good start but it’s struggling to match competitors; in the absence of monetised ads. However, the struggle presents an opportunity for Facebook to capitalise on a new category of premium video. Let’s discuss the feature and assess the premium strategy.
Mobile video; going premium
To improve IGTV’s viewers, Facebook can develop a subscription-based strategy that aligns more with high-quality content. However, no one is making IGTV specific content, whilst audience numbers dwindle in their rivals shadow. To combat this, their aim should be to make IGTV its own major property distinct from the Instagram feed. On its own, IGTV could follow suit of services like Netflix and Hulu; creating service specific ‘original’ series. Although, video content suitable for the vertical smartphone screen needs creating to anchor their own subscription service. This is difficult as the writing and shooting of episodes will be totally different to spur success.
Is it time to go freemium?
If IGTV pursue a premium strategy, they’d be in direct competition with Quibi (NewTV’s rename). They’re currently investing in a library of exclusives through their subscription-based app; specifically for smartphones. To gain views initially, a big investment is necessary to produce content so that the initial pay wall and on-going subscription seems worth it. IGTV isn’t currently monetised, so a freemium strategy may be the way forward. Providing free content whilst incentivising must-see shows creates a balance between videos optimised for views and videos driving subscribers.
A premium strategy would mean product changes. Currently, IGTV’s discoverability is weak and videos don’t link as a series. There’s a lack of search options in terms of: specific videos/shows, channel browsing and trending videos. However, it would be a missed opportunity not to pursue this route, as IGTV could be dominant in the mobile video category.