- Facebook-owned Instagram is offering to cover the video production costs of some influencers to expand the content offering on IGTV, the app's section for longer videos. Instagram has one caveat: Video creators can't discuss social issues, elections or politics, Bloomberg reported, citing an Instagram contract the publication obtained.
- Instagram is willing to pay thousands of dollars to help creators cover their production costs in exchange for a set number of videos. The platform has signed dozens of deals, with the biggest ones surpassing $250,000 for more than 20 posts, Bloomberg reported, citing an unnamed source. Instagram also restricts creators from posting the videos on other platforms like Google-owned YouTube, and they're not allowed to seek third-party sponsorship or to offer sweepstakes or product giveaways, the contracts say.
- The offer to cover production costs is relatively minimal compared with the incentives that Facebook Watch and YouTube offer to post videos. Aside from covering production costs, Instagram doesn't pay celebrities for their work or engagement. IGTV has struggled to gain viewership since it launched in June 2018, and many of its most popular personalities haven't created videos for the service, per The Hollywood Reporter.
Instagram's reported offer to help celebrities cover their video production costs is another sign that its IGTV video hub has failed to gain much traction among the main app's 1 billion users. Instagram started IGTV to boost audience engagement and lure big-name brand advertisers, as YouTube and Facebook Watch have done.
In addition to covering video-production costs, IGTV has developed other ways to appeal to users with large followings and to support their creative efforts. In February, it began letting Instagram users preview IGTV videos within their Instagram feeds to help drive traffic. Last month, IGTV started allowing creators to make their videos viewable as a series to keep people engaged with influencer content and stick around on the platform, Tubefilter reported.
The stakes are high for IGTV, with U.S. advertisers boosting their spending on digital video advertising by 36% to $9.5 billion during the first half of 2019 from a year earlier, per an IAB/PwC report from October. Worldwide, online video ad spending will surge 46% to $51 billion by 2023, per an estimate by Strategy Analytics. The surging growth in digital video ad spend led Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to declare almost three years ago that the social network would become a "video-first" platform. That strategy appears to be working for Facebook, whose advertisers boosted their video media budgets 24% in Q3 from a year earlier. The social media giant this year said 140 million people spent at least one minute a day viewing Watch, its video hub that launched in 2017.
However, implementing that strategy with Instagram has been a challenge. Facebook hasn't disclosed viewer data for IGTV, making comparison with other video sharing platforms difficult. Google historically hasn't disclosed results for YouTube, except to say that it has 2 billion users worldwide. In the U.S., 73% of adults use YouTube, compared with 69% for Facebook and 37% for Instagram, per a Pew Research Center study that didn't include IGTV.
The number of people who watch videos on their mobile phones will swell 6% a year to 2.72 billion people in 2023 from 2.16 billion this year, eMarketer estimated in September. Social video ads, which rely heavily on mobile viewership, grew 45% in Q3 from a year earlier to make up 42% of total social ad spending, per a study by digital ad platform Kenshoo. This poses significant opportunity for IGTV to capitalize on the steady uptick in mobile video viewership.