Here’s How IGTV Can Change the #SMSports Landscape

Our second screen is transitioning into our primary screen.

As digital professionals, it’s our responsibility to take notice every time the social landscape changes. When Instagram announced IGTV yesterday, many of us displayed a range of emotions. A bold, new feature means more room for creativity but also with the pressure to make it effective and fit our game plans.

But wasn’t the longform IGTV inevitable? Social media was once seen as the way to deliver compact information to an audience as quickly as possible. Newspapers? TV? Radio? Please. Give me Twitter, Netflix, and podcasts. But over the last year, we’ve seen a small ripple in how we consume content. Twitter increased its character length, Facebook created the bingy Facebook Watch, and Snapchats grew from 10 seconds to 60.

Bottom line, we can handle a little length as long as the content is on demand.

Yes, every time the social landscape changes it’s our job to dissect the repercussions. What does this new feature mean? How can we fit into the ever-adopting digital scene? What is this going to look like in six months? A year?

IGTV tl;dr (ironic, huh?):
1. Content can be as long as an hour and as short as 15 seconds
2. Videos will be filmed vertically (we are a product of our environment our environment is a product of us)
3. Anyone can be a creator, not just verified accounts

Having been presented with IGTV, we already know of some obvious ways it will impact the sports game. Other than another place for Instagram to place ads, the creation of IGTV shows a continuous movement towards a video dominated landscape with users as content creators. We are officially our own personal brands.

For those of us whose organizations have heavily invested in Instagram (who hasn’t?), we need to continue devoting resources to video. IGTV presents us with many opportunities for long form video features, an opportunity that some teams such as the @memgrizz have already started to pursue. In its regular feed, Instagram currently allows just one measly minute of video. How many times over the years was that not enough time to tell a story? Times have changed. Literally.

When IGTV was announced, the @Vikings, @TexasFootball, @ClemsonFB, and @Vol_Football were some of those who were the first to the punch. On launch day, the @Vikings aired an interview of Kirk Cousins Q & A that featured a crafty split screen between the quarterback and the interviewer, showcasing the the vertical video format. The @NBA also aired a feature on the day of the NBA Draft.

IGTV also poses a major opportunity for monetization. Those of us who work on the marketing side of digital–especially in college athletics–need to be constantly thinking of creative ways to incorporate sponsorships and bring money to the department. IGTV presents all sorts of possibilities for ways to capture the attention of a concentrated audience, giving way for partnerships and sponsorships.

Finally, IGTV demands a big challenge. Many of us are tasked with convincing coaches and administration that we need access in order to thrive. For some, this may be a much tougher task. Unfortunately, some people are so antiquated with their thinking that they don’t see the importance of digital and giving fans access to their favorite teams and players. With IGTV, convincing those who enable access is now more important than ever. #

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