News You might have missed: Week of June 22, 2018

Instagram new TV: IGTV

On Wednesday, at an event in San Francisco, Instagram announced a standalone app to watch long-form vertical videos. The app is called IGTV and it will also have a dedicated button inside the Instagram app. IGTV will launch on iOS and Android and will allow content creators and the public to post videos that can be up to 10 minutes long to start, growing to a full hour over time.

Via Instagram 

  • Instagram’s blog quotes numbers on how video habits are changing both in how video is consumed (mostly on mobile) and what kind of video (amateur rather than professional.) I don’t disagree with the general sense of directions of those numbers, but I would say that the decision to only support vertical content dismisses how much of YouTube content is viewed on a device other than a mobile phone including PCs and TV. Vertical content also excludes music and TV content which make up a good proportion of YouTube overall offering.
  • While Instagram has often been criticized for copying Snapchat features it seems that with IGTV it is shifting away from Snapchat’s communication focus and really moving into YouTube territory by providing an alternative to content creators as well as their audience.
  • It is interesting that at least at the start, IGTV will not offer advertising, although Instagram CEO said it seems like a natural new opportunity for ads. IGTV will also not pay content creators.
  • Earlier in the year, YouTube attempted to limit the damages of advertising showing up next to inappropriate content by creating new policies that seem to favor big content creators rather than the many niche creators that populate YouTube. It will be interesting to see if these smaller creators will give IGTV a chance.
  • Instagram announced at the same event that they have now reached 1 billion users, a number that will certainly be attractive to both advertisers and creators looking to expand their reach. It remains to be seen, however, if this audience is actually looking for longer format content from the same creators. The way I think about it is this: just because you write good tweets it does not mean you can write a novel. There is much more complexity in producing and editing a long-form video than there is in a picture which raises questions on how creators would want to be compensated. Instagram influencers tend to get compensated directed by the brands they engage with and it is unclear if this model would transfer to long-form videos. And brands might be the ones really looking at IGTV’s potential first, especially in make-up and clothing.
  • It is also unclear if Instagram has what it takes in curating all the content it is hoping to get. Instagram has so far remained sheltered from the tribulations that parent company Facebook has faced with fake news. As YouTube has demonstrated, however, monitoring long-form video is not an easy task.

Microsoft Xbox will not get VR Support After All

At an interview at E3, Microsoft CMO Mike Nichols said: “We don’t have any plans specific to Xbox consoles in virtual reality or mixed reality. Our perspective on it has been and continues to be that the PC is probably the best platform for more immersive VR and MR.”

This statement contradicts what Xbox chief Phil Spencer promised that launch of the Xbox One X back in 2016: “ This is hardware built specifically to lead the console industry into true 4K gaming and high-fidelity VR.”

Via Cnet

  • This statement does not come as a surprise, to be honest. I never had the feeling when talking to Microsoft that they believed the console was the right space for VR despite what Spencer might have said in the past.
  • Nichols’ explanation about where they see VR and MR fit today might have something to do with a couple of different points:
    • Intel and the PC makers had been hoping that VR and MR could drive adoption of higher-end PC and fuel a replacement cycle. While we have certainly seen consumers invest in more expenses PCs that has more to do with how PC makers have stepped up their higher-end offering and the level of engagement these users still have with their computer. It has very little to do with VR although it is driven for a small group by their gaming needs. PC gaming is experiencing somewhat of the resurgence in its own right but there is still a small window of opportunity for tethered VR and MR headsets.
    • The future is however untethered, there is no question about it and it could well be that Microsoft is waiting for standalone devices to deliver a new gaming experience that they will position as the future of gaming. Today HoloLens is very much an enterprise play and I don’t believe we will see Microsoft bring the brand to the consumer market where the Xbox brand but also the Surface brand could be an opportunity.
  • Vendors are starting to hedge their bets with Daydream standalone headset like the Lenovo Mirage Solo and Amazon will need to think about what the next step for Mixed Reality will be. Content for VR is still in its infancy but Microsoft will want to make sure not to fall behind in the priority lists of both developers and content creators.


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Carolina Milanesi

Carolina is a Principal Analyst at Creative Strategies, Inc, a market intelligence and strategy consulting firm based in Silicon Valley and recognized as one of the premier sources of quantitative and qualitative research and insights in tech. At Creative Strategies, Carolina focuses on consumer tech across the board. From hardware to services, she analyzes today to help predict and shape tomorrow. In her prior role as Chief of Research at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, she drove thought leadership research by marrying her deep understanding of global market dynamics with the wealth of data coming from ComTech’s longitudinal studies on smartphones and tablets. Prior to her ComTech role, Carolina spent 14 years at Gartner, most recently as their Consumer Devices Research VP and Agenda Manager. In this role, she led the forecast and market share teams on smartphones, tablets, and PCs. She spent most of her time advising clients from VC firms, to technology providers, to traditional enterprise clients. Carolina is often quoted as an industry expert and commentator in publications such as The Financial Times, Bloomberg, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. She regularly appears on BBC, Bloomberg TV, Fox, NBC News and other networks. Her Twitter account was recently listed in the “101 accounts to follow to make Twitter more interesting” by Wired Italy.

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