The BBC is experimenting with Instagram video. Launched late last week, Instafax is a short-form video news service that’s distributed using the BBC News Instagram account. Three 15-second videos will be published each day over the month-long experiment, and all are designed to highlight the day’s news. "We want the process to be organic, and we're keen to trial new ideas on how we can use our video content to reach new audiences," explains BBC News Online chief Steve Herrmann in an interview with The Guardian.
While the Instafax naming is a clear reference to the shuttered Ceefax news service that dominated British televisions in the ‘80s and ‘90s, the BBC’s experiment also mimics other short-from video news services. NowThis News has been producing short video highlights of news for Instagram since 2012, and the site also creates content for Vine, Snapchat, Twitter, and Facebook. While NowThis News combines video, text overlays, and voiceovers, the BBC has opted for a combination of text overlays and dramatic background music for its 15-second highlights.
Most brands have moved quickly to utilize services like Vine and Instagram, but the BBC’s experiment shows that even traditional media organizations are looking for new methods to distribute content. Of course, if 15-seconds isn’t enough then there’s always 90 seconds of daily news to fill the gap.