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Instagram TV — a game changer for entertainers?

Published:Sunday | August 26, 2018 | 12:00 AMShereita Grizzle
Tara Playfair-Scott

It has been just over a month since Instagram launched its newest feature - IG TV (Instagram TV) - and already, the video application is being touted as the best thing to happen to social media.

The days of a mere 60-second video are over as IG TV allows users to upload videos up to an hour long. For influencers such as entertainers, the new feature allows them more space to interact and share content with millions of fans. Although fairly new, it has the potential to grow into one of the largest video-sharing platforms in the world. Since its inception, many have speculated that the app is poised to be serious competition to Youtube.

Marketing and PR Consultant Tara Playfair-Scott believes that very soon, YouTube may not be the only option artistes and other persons in the entertainment industry use to share music videos and other content with fans. She is of the opinion that IG TV already has an advantage over YouTube as it is more interactive and allows influencers immediate feedback and dialogue with their fan base. The latter, she says, was part of the reason persons who usually use Vine deferred to IG, which led to the eventual death of the Vine platform.

"I don't know if people remember, but at one point, people were kind of going between Vine and Instagram. Now, where's Vine?" she questioned. "There is no more Vine, and so Instagram is morphing yet again. They (Instagram) understand what is happening in their market space, and they are adapting. If you are a business person, which we know Mark Zuckerberg is, he's looking at numbers, and he's looking at how much money there is in YouTube - which I think earlier this year announced that they had 1. 3 billion logged-in users per month - so why not try to get some of that money, using the advantage that you have?"

Speaking of money, Playfair-Scott said that for now, persons may be sticking to YouTube as they are able to earn from their channels. Currently, there is no monetisation option for users of IG TV, but the marketing consultant believes that that may change very soon.


Maximise earnings


"Yes, people can say they are not getting any money from it, but in fact, people have been able to maximise earnings on their products using IG. We didn't have the term Instagram model before Instagram. Nowadays, everything from tooth whiteners, to flat-tummy teas to those bras that give you more cleavage has a market on IG, and we can point to so many things that we learnt of through Instagram. So it does help with monetisation in the long run," she said. Playfair-Scott added: "Maybe it is not an immediate thing in terms of per views or per number of clicks, but in essence, the more followers you gain and the more popular you become, the more doors open up for you. I think right now, they're testing the waters and seeing what happens, but I do think that Instagram is eventually going to have to allow persons to gain revenue from their pages. I don't know if its going to be through ad share or through someone wanting to find themselves on your channel, but I'm sure they are going to do something where you will end up monetising your page. Once your content is generating revenue for you via IG TV, then you will slowly start seeing yourself using less of YouTube. You will be using everything all in one place."

Many of the artistes with whom The Sunday Gleaner spoke, said that while they were aware of the new IG feature, they were not familiar with how it worked. When the benefits of IG TV were explained, some said that they were willing to give the app a try in the near future, especially if opportunities open up where they can earn from the new feature. Currently, artistes can only share a minute of their music videos, but IG TV will allow them to share the entire video, and so much more. One such artiste is dancehall's first lady, D'Angel. Though she has never tried it, she is particularly pleased with the fact that the app lets you upload one hour of content and says that that will be a plus for persons in the entertainment industry as they will get to share more with their fan base. She is also pleased with the fact that IG TV opens in the original Instagram app, pointing out that content uploaded will, therefore, be readily available to persons that follow her.

Although new, Playfair-Scott believes that IG TV is easy to use and should be something every influencer learns to manoeuvre. Pointing out that more and more people are spending more time on their phones and on social media, particularly Instagram, she believes that the feature is something that will prove vital for entertainers in the near future. "I think because it's still kind of fresh, people are still trying to figure it out, but I think it can be of real use. It's a great tool for not just influencers or big names. If persons can do so much with just one minute on Instagram, imagine what they could do with a whole hour. It's great for smaller brands, upcoming influencers like a Prince Pine or a Quite Perry or a lot of persons who have shows. I see it doing well for, like, a Kamila McDonald, who has her exercise show or chef Brian Lumley where easy-to-do recipes can be shared."

With a ready audience of a billion users, the potential benefits for brands are endless.