Instagram Pivoting To Video Service To Compete With YouTube

Instagram looks to 'Instagrab' some of the video market share dominated by YouTube.

Instagram follows YouTube
Karly Domb Sadof / AP Images

Instagram looks to 'Instagrab' some of the video market share dominated by YouTube.

New reports indicate that Instagram is making a serious pivot and intends to offer a video service on its platform to compete with the likes of YouTube. The popular, predominately image-dominated social media platform could end up hosting videos that last up to an hour, and will be investing significant resources toward future video services in order to remain relevant as teens rapidly shift from one platform to another.

According to reporting by the Wall Street Journal, Facebook-owned Instagram was feeling the pressure in the competition against such services as YouTube, which remains one of the most popular sites on the internet. While the Journal notes that existing plans are tentative and subject to change, shifting demographics in the social media ecosystem and a renewed focus on video services in recent years don’t make the pivot particularly surprising.

Teens are abandoning certain social media behemoths in droves for others, for instance, according to new research issued by the Pew Research Center. A study from Pew indicated that teens are abandoning Facebook in droves for the first time, and are flocking to platforms like YouTube, Instagram, and Snapchat instead. Some 85 percent of U.S. teens are on YouTube, with 72 percent shifting to Instagram and another 69 percent using Snapchat.

Instagram is reportedly looking to strike up content-creation deals with popular publishers and content creators in what would be a similar strategy to YouTube’s. The audience for digital video services has grown rapidly in the past decade, with all age groups, but younger people in particular flocking to digital services to watch their favorite shows, movies, and entertainers. Instagram has some 800 million users, making its potential pivot to video a sizable shakeup of the existing video service industry.

YouTube in Instagram crosshairs
  Chris McGrath / GettyImages

While Instagram was initially founded as a photo service, its pivot to video services falls in line with parent company Facebook’s efforts to retain its audience and expand its influence in the social media ecosystem. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has called the rise of video services a “mega trend” in the past, for instance, and both Instagram and Facebook have extensive agreements with content creators and advertisers featuring video to some extent.

Instagram’s current plans include music videos, scripted entertainment shows, and content creation possibilities for the site’s average users. The company is likely to arrange partnerships with social media stars and content creators if the plan goes forward.