With our slimmed-down Netflix, no Hulu, and an Amazon Prime that doesn’t measure up to the U.S. version, Canadians are use to being treated as second-class digital citizens.
Add another one to the pile.
Instagram yesterday announced it would make video a much bigger part of its “Explore” tab. Instagram Explore is a feature that was introduced nearly four years ago that features various photos from public Instagram accounts and lets users search for material using hashtags.
“As people share more videos than ever before, we’re making it easier to discover the ones you’ll love,” wrote the company in a blog post. “To begin, you’ll find a personalized channel called “Videos You Might Like” that collects videos from across Instagram’s global community into a seamless viewing experience. And as you scroll through the Explore grid, you may also see “Featured” channels filled with videos on specific topics.”
But the features Instagram launched yesterday are currently only available in the United States. The company says it will roll them out to other areas at some time in the future, a tune familiar to Canadians who might be the same folks missing services such as music streamer Pandora, another offering that can’t seem to make its way north of the 49th parallel.
The moves by Instagram are consistent with those of its parent company, Facebook, which has an keen interest in expanding its offerings in video.
Earlier this week, Toronto’s Flixel announced it had been selected by Facebook at the latter company’s F8 conference to partner on a new feature called the Profile Expression Kit, which allows users to incorporate videos created in third-party apps for direct uploading as their profile video.
Many suspect Facebook’s recent obsession is an attempt to dethrone or at least co-opt Google owned-YouTube’s dominance of the space. Facebook says more than a half-billion people watch in excess of 100-million hours of video on the site each day.
The Motley Fool’s Adam Levy says Facebook is taking video seriously because it sees the potential to add another permanent revenue stream.
“YouTube reportedly generated $4 billion in net revenue in 2014,” writes Levy. “By comparison, Facebook brought in $17.9 billion in 2015, mostly from non-video ads. Adding direct monetization of its video views would be a major growth driver for the company.”
Levy says Facebook is looking at launching a section of its site that is entirely dedicated to videos and is experimenting with a model that would see it share revenue with users who upload videos.
Instagram was acquired by Facebook in April 2012 for approximately US$1 billion in cash and stock. Late last year, the service topped 400-million users, the vast majority of which reside outside the United States. Just 16 per cent of Canadians use Instagram.
Below: Instagram Explore Section To Get Video Channels (The Times of India)