YouTube influencers carefully watching IGTV


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Pia Muehlenbeck used her YouTube Channel to promote her first IGTV post.
Photo: Kane and Pia/YouTube

Fashion influencer Pia Muehlenbeck wore a red dress chosen by her social media fans for a sunny day in Santa Monica to make her first video for the new IGTV.

Once shooting finished, she posted it on YouTube.

YouTube has seen competitors come and go and none have been able to threaten its standing as the dominant video platform. But it has not faced a media company with the might to seriously cut into its ad revenues or lure away some of its most prominent talent like Instagram.

Since Instagram rolled out the new stand-alone video app Wednesday, YouTube hosts, from the popular to the relatively unknown, have used their channels to speculate on what Instagram’s new stand-alone channel will mean to the future of YouTube.

YouTube has 1.5 billion active monthly users. Instagram, in unveiling IGTV, announced it had just surpassed 1 billion users.

There is a lot of crossover usage and since companies and individuals engage multiple social media outlets for branding or just plain vanity, it’s likely the more savvy users, the influencers who make their money off Instagram and YouTube will push content out through both.

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Marquis Brownlee adds IGTV to his social media brand.
Photo: MKBHD/YouTube

One of the more popular influencers, tech host Marques Brownlee, said Instagram invited him to meet with executives and preview the new app.

“They showed it to me and it was pretty intriguing,” Brownlee said on a YouTube video he posted Wednesday. “And then it kind of came with this silence like, ‘You in?’ “

It makes sense Instagram would court Brownlee. At 20, Brownlee already had more than a million subscribers to his YouTube channel, where he talks all things technology reviewing devices and opining about tech trends. Under the username MKBHD, he now has 6.3 million subscribers on YouTube, where reports have him earning more than $500,000 a year.

He has 1.4 million followers on Instagram, all of which have carried over to his IGTV channel. He already has posted one video to IGTV with regular posts to come.

Brownlee says Instagram has all the components to give YouTube competition other apps, like Vine, Vimeo, and Periscope, could not. Instagram is creator-focused, he said but will have to figure out how to monetize it in a way that is beneficial to hosts and influencers.

“I’m excited for what’s to come,” Brownlee said. “Competition is good for us as users of services. If there was no competition for the iPhone, it would never get better.”

Muehlenbeck, who runs an eco-friendly clothing line, has more than 300,000 YouTube subscribers. Her channel focuses on her and her fiancé, Kane Vato, traveling the world to make perfect pictures – many of which are her in a bikini – for her Instagram feed, which has 2 million followers.

The title of her first IGTV post was “Instagram + IGTV Controls My Life for a Day!”

One wannabe social media influencer, Seth Lugibihl, posted a pretty thoughtful video on YouTube about the potential he sees for IGTV to be even bigger than YouTube, where he has just 704 subscribers.

“It’s similar to when Instagram launched Instagram Stores and was competing with Snapchat,” said Lugibihl, a software developer. “Some people said ‘I would never use Instagram Stories.’ Now everyone uses Instagram Stores. So this is why I am extremely bullish on IGTV.

“Influencers are already making huge amounts of money building huge communities on Instagram so it makes sense to transition that into a video platform. It’s a really great play.”