Instagram is no longer all-in on vertical video. The company announced today that its longform video offshoot, IGTV, will now support landscape video. Up until now, the company only supported vertical video, which was a feature focus during its launch nearly a year ago. Instagram says the change comes because of creator feedback and because some viewers are finding landscape videos on IGTV already but haven’t been able to turn their phones to watch them in fullscreen.
“We realize this is an evolution from where IGTV started — we believe it’s the right change for viewers and creators,” the company says in a blog post. “In many ways, opening IGTV to more than just vertical videos is similar to when we opened Instagram to more than just square photos in 2015. It enabled creativity to flourish and engagement to rise — and we believe the same will happen again with IGTV.”
IGTV has struggled to make waves in the cultural conversation, particularly compared to TikTok, which has spawned memes, discussion, and music hits. The Hollywood Reporter reported earlier this year that creators aren’t interested in IGTV, and The Verge spent time in March with some creators who have worked alongside Instagram’s talent management team to build out their IGTV content. The creators using the app seem to be pleased, but they also noted that they haven’t been able to monetize their content yet. Unlike YouTube, Instagram doesn’t have an ad placement service that pays creators, and brands haven’t yet started paying creators to make longform IGTV content, these creators told The Verge.
Part of the struggle to publish on IGTV was the vertical video optimization. For creators who publish primarily on YouTube, moving to IGTV means creating a separate cut of their content or filming it in a different way to make the video display properly. That’s extra work for little return. View counts were fewer than creators wanted to see, but they told The Verge that when Instagram allowed them to start sharing their IGTV videos to their feed earlier this year, their viewership numbers increased. Although Instagram is giving up an integral part of the IGTV brand by sacrificing the vertical video, it might encourage creators to cross-post their content across various platforms, if nothing else, and thereby boost IGTV’s offerings.