Instagram TV has a chance to change the Movie Industry

Instagram just launched a new feature (which could also be considered its own platform) named “IGTV” or “Instagram TV”. It’s their take on long-form content. Initially, it appears content is tailored for vertical video, but it is possible to watch in a standard landscape orientation — albeit with some tweaks required from the content creator (more on that later).

It’s no secret that I have been harsh on Instagram over the years. I bawked and bawked about being limited to square videos in regular posts (vs. the relatively recent addition of Stories). I whined and whined about Stories cropping landscape videos/photos uploaded from the camera roll, and their ephemerial nature. Both gripes have since been solved. Hooray! I suspect IGTV will inevitably allow the upload of landscape videos without cropping them to a portrait orientation.

Yes, sometimes I enjoy watching Instagram Stories in a vertical orientation. Usually when I’m quickly skimming through a handful of stories while waiting for a video to export or a bus to arrive. That said, unless I’m watching a show about ladders or giraffes, I’m not going to spend 20-40 minutes watching a vertical video. The first channel I saw on IGTV was natgeo. They have a show called “One Strange Rock: Home“. The first 3 minutes were compelling enough for me to want to watch more, but I’m frustrated by it not being in landscape. One Strange Rock. Rocks. Land. Landscape.

Thankfully, some creators I highly respect have placed snarky responses to IGTV’s vertical video limitations. First, I saw that Philip Bloom uploaded a video (https://instagram.com/tv/BkTKKUJnCkI) to IGTV in landscape orientation. I breathed a huge sigh of relief. Then I realised he had edited the video to be rotated 90º and exported it in a 9:16 orientation. I do not appreciate the extra work these platforms make content creators do (i.e., pan and scan*) just to get our content to be displayed as it was recorded. It would take less than a week of development for the Instagram team to add a feature that allows videos to be rotated 90º/-90º. But, why bother when they could just display videos in the orientation they’re uploaded? Kraig Adams uploaded an iPhone screen recording of his YouTube channel and titled it “How to not use IGTV“. Hilarious! He did mention in the caption that he is excited to start making native content for IGTV though. Justine posted a tweet that simply reads “Vertical video 🤦🏼‍♀️” and has a vertical version of one of her recent YouTube videos. The replies to her were mostly against the idea of vertical video. These are her fans, but they also appear to be creators who know what they’re talking about.

While the public doesn’t yet know what the monetisation options will be for IGTV, I think this will be a great opportunity for Instagram to encourage other platforms to set standardised practices for international content distribution. In other words, being hindered from watching Australian content (usually the limitations are only on mainstream content — not YouTubers) within the United States’ geopolitical borders — and vice versa — is frustrating and outdated. If Instagram can lead others to distribute their content globally, then I think this will be a huge benefit for customers and the creators. Everyone is well aware of the lack of borders on the internet. Seeing “This content is not available in your country” is jarring. It leads people to go and steal the content through nefarious methods. Even with that awareness, production and distribution companies aren’t always able to agree on pricing to have content delivered globally. IGTV can and should pave a way forward for standardised pricing. Here’s are two examples of how that could work:

Chris Lilley (Australian director/producer) creates a new TV series.

      • The production company partners with an Australian distribution channel to get it on TV and online streaming channels.
      • Depending on global partnerships, the Australian distribution channel could charge 12% for every partner that wants to license the show in their country.
      • If their partner in that country doesn’t want the show, then it goes to an open market — not to the highest bidder. In theory, every channel/service in that country could distribute the show, but that would hinder competition between them.

Ricky Gervais (British director/producer) creates a new TV series.

        • The production company launches it on their YouTube, IGTV, Netflix, and Facebook channels with no global restrictions. (At minimum, they should have closed captions for countries which don’t have the native language of the show.)
        • The show (or movie) is ~$10 to watch the entire season, or included with the platform’s subscription membership (typically less than $10/mo).
        • To market the show (something the distribution channel usually does), they can target specific audiences on Google AdWords and Facebook Ads. This will likely gain them a larger (trackable) audience than traditional platforms like television.
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Lastly, while most content is viewed on mobile phones and tablets, many people still enjoy longform (movies, TV shows, etc.) content on a larger screen. Personally, I prefer watching anything on YouTube on my laptop; if I see something interesting on my phone, I’ll move over to my laptop to view it. IGTV being limited to phones (Instagram still doesn’t have a good tablet experience) will hinder most of what I’ve described here. It won’t be able to compete with Netflix, Amazon, and YouTube Red if it’s not available on all platforms.

Further reading

Avatar 3D Movie Review

After months of deliberation, I finally went to see “Avatar” in 3D at a movie theatre in the United States. (Rachel basically had to drag me there. Heh.)

Prior to seeing the movie I didn’t go out looking for reviews; they came to me via Twitter. Dave Winer’s review is the only one that I can remember, though I read many more. I don’t read reviews by ‘critics’ because I’m not friends with critics; I trust my friends’ and peers’ reviews far more. Though, in this case, I had already decided that I wasn’t interested in seeing “Avatar” based solely on the trailer — which I viewed over a year before the film was released.

Here’s my initial thoughts on the movie just after I excited the theatre:

I really don’t think the film needed to cost ~US$500 million to make and promote. The 3D effect was almost pointless; I would have enjoyed the film just as much without it; 3D is a fad.

As I said in the video, the most important aspect of the movie is the story. Humans need to realise that the power-hungry elite are destroying our cultures, and ruining our freedoms and environments for profit.

What did you think of the film? Did you think about it as deep as moi?

MeUpdate – January 22, 2010

Here’s an update of what I’ve been up to. Below the video is a brief summary of what’s discussed in the video. It’s well worth a watch.

On the first recording of this video I recorded an entire 50 minute video that didn’t have any audio. I’m thinking about uploading that video anyway and letting you guys put your own voiceover to it.

I’m sitting in the NSA Management office because it’s a little more comfortable than my bedroom or the couch.

It’s quite hot in Sydney at the moment. The humidity is quite unbearable.

I’m heading back to America on the 9th of February. I’ll be going back to Texas to be with Rachel. Read more about it here.

[Follow @DKFEED to keep up to date with my Blog and Tumblr posts.]

I’m not going to MacWorld 2010, but I’m thinking about going to SxSW 2010, and I’ll definitely be at PodCamp AZ 2010.

I’ve been recording lots of videos. I as many of those online as soon as I can.

I’ve been sleeping on the floor and it’s been a much better experience than my bed. Dustin Curtis has a great page on ‘How To Hack Your Brain‘ in regards to sleep.

I discuss some brief topics discussed in The Zeitgeist Movement. It would really make me happy if everyone took the time to discover more about the project. ZDAY2010 is going to be held worldwide on March 13th, 2010. Please get involved. 🙂

Please check out the new design on my blog: djsteen.com/wpRachel did an amazing job with the redesign, and I’ve been keeping it up to date quite regularly.

If anyone in Sydney, Australia, wants to hang out before I leave to go to America on February 9th, then please send me a message on Twitter (or Facebook) with enough time to make plans. 🙂

Other links mentioned:
Tech Hijack episode 64

Where Do I Go?

You may know I’m currently traveling the United States, and having a lot of giddy times while doing so!

I’ve been to Washington D.C., New York City (incl. Long Island), Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Chicago (I want to go back!), Tampa Bay (Florida), and I’m now in Phoenix, Arizona.

I’d like to know where the best events and excitement can occur in the coming months. Sure, I can look on Upcoming or Facebook, but I want to know where YOU know is going to be awesome! Either because you live there, or because you’ve had a rockin’ time there once.

I’m planning everything around Geoff Smith’s Ustream Christmas Party at The Big Bang Bar in Nashville, TN, on the 15th of December. I feel that going to chill with Rachel after that (for Christmas?) would be the most economical thing to do, but I feel kinda bad not visiting my relatives (in Vancouver, Canada) for the ‘holidays’.

What about New Years? Is there an amazing place to see lots of fireworks and intoxicated people around? Sydney is known for some pretty wicked fireworks!

I also want to know where there are great places to go skiing. I love skiing, and I know America/Canada has much better slopes than Australia!

I’d really appriciate it if you could give me some ideas (include links) via the comments on this post, and or the video above. 🙂