- Instagram updated its IGTV video-streaming app to highlight creators who produce long-form videos. IGTV's redesigned homepage features a customized selection of creators at the top of the screen, based on users' interests and the accounts they follow, The Verge reported.
- IGTV added a Discover tab to help people find new and personalized content, instead of being restricted to trending videos and accounts they already follow. The app also has a hands-free recording mode that gives users more flexibility to create videos without holding their smartphones.
- IGTV is now more integrated with Instagram than it was at launch, letting users post their IGTV videos in the core platform's Stories feature, where content disappears after 24 hours. Stories will show the first 15 seconds of the video instead of a still screen grab, The Verge reported.
IGTV's updates to highlight creators may help to boost usage and give more opportunities for mobile marketers to reach audiences on the video platform. The redesign comes weeks after Instagram reportedly started asking video creators to partner on tests of ad inserts, paving the way for it to sell ads in IGTV.
While IGTV is backed by social media giant Facebook, the video app hasn't gained much traction in the past two years — a stark contrast to the growth rates for Google's YouTube and viral video startup TikTok. Only 7 million people downloaded the standalone IGTV app in first 18 months since its launch, according to Sensor Tower data cited by TechCrunch, a number that's dwarfed by TikTok's estimated 1.9 billion downloads.
By highlighting creator content, IGTV may be able to jumpstart a virtuous cycle of video production that spurs engagement and helps influencers to monetize their creative efforts, leading to even more improvements to video quality. Instagram already had taken steps in that direction by offering to cover the video production costs of some influencers who agreed to expand their content work on IGTV. The program was a significant departure from Instagram's practice of not paying celebrities to create content for the photo-sharing app.
IGTV's changes come as the mobile video market grows crowded, especially as younger audiences spend more time watching video on their smartphones. In response to the popularity of TikTok, YouTube is reported to be working on a video-sharing feature called "Shorts" for release by the end of 2020. Instagram also started testing a feature called "Reels" in Brazil to let users create music videos, while Facebook launched an app called Lasso that focuses on viral short-form video content. In addition, the mobile-only video startup Quibi launched last week and hit 1.7 million downloads, CNBC reported.