“Right now, we’re focused on delivering on what we said we would — connecting you to creators and content you’re most interested in,” said Ashley Yuki, head of product for IGTV, speaking at Variety‘s Entertainment and Technology Summit in L.A.
However, introducing new money-making and revenue-sharing features to IGTV is “a very important area for us,” Yuki said. “It’s super top-of-mind for us, because we know it takes a lot of time and effort to create this kind of content.” She declined to put a timeline on when IGTV would start testing out monetization.
When Instagram launched IGTV in June, it signaled new competition for Google’s YouTube. But until it adds revenue-sharing or other monetization opportunities for creators, IGTV won’t really be a competitive platform.
Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, positions IGTV as a reimagining of mobile video in a vertical format featuring longer videos and the ability to discover content through channels. “The way we think about IGTV is it’s kind of the next generation’s TV,” Yuki said. “The way the next generation is watching video is different… It’s not on a set-top box, it’s on their phones.”
Yuki added that IGTV “delivers on our top-level mission — to bring you closer to the people and things you love.”
Instagram invited digital creator and sketch-comedian Anwar Jibawi, who has 5.4 million followers on the social service, to participate in Variety‘s event. Jibawi said IGTV has been a powerful new creative tool for him, letting him deliver episodic comedy series on Instagram. “For my biggest platform to have exactly what I’ve always wanted — long-form content — was great for me, and my audience,” he said on the panel.
Making money on IGTV is important, Jibawi said, but “at the moment, I’m at that stage where I’m just having fun and growing.”
IGTV allows users to upload videos up to 10 minutes long to their own channel, while select large creators are able to upload videos of up to one hour. Previously, Instagram limited uploaded videos to 60 seconds, and capped Instagram Stories at 15 seconds.
Compared with existing “snackable” videos that Instagram users post and share, IGTV content is “a little bit more intentful,” Yuki said, adding that IGTV has been used by a wide span of users ranging from individual users to Hollywood studios.
Yuki said IGTV’s early adopters have been finding new ways to take advantage of the vertical-video orientation, which has a more immediate and personal feel than horizontal video. That said, she acknowledged, “The transition to native mobile video… isn’t going to happen overnight.”