Many media companies may be slowly wading into Instagram’s 3-month-old long-form video platform, IGTV, but not Meredith. The magazine publisher is developing a slate of 10 original series for IGTV, the first of which will premiere later this year, according to Andrew Snyder, svp of video at Meredith.
Parents magazine will premiere a show starring undisclosed celebrity moms on IGTV. EatingWell will premiere a vegan cooking show; Travel + Leisure will air a travel show starring Instagram influencers touring the cities where they live; and Real Simple’s beauty director will host a beauty show offering makeup tips for commuters.
Meredith decided to invest in producing original programming for Instagram’s IGTV after surveying the digital video market and deciding that there is “no single platform where everybody goes to watch video,” said Snyder.
YouTube with its 1.8 billion monthly logged-in users may take issue with that assessment, but many of Meredith’s publications already operate YouTube channels and produce shows for Facebook’s would-be YouTube rival Watch. So now Meredith is looking to lay the groundwork on IGTV in case Instagram’s long-form video platform ends up becoming the one platform that finally legitimately rivals YouTube.
“In part because it’s early days [for IGTV], it’s a great opportunity to move quickly, develop programming designed for that platform and establish a leadership position,” said Snyder.
IGTV has yet to prove it can provide a big-enough audience, not to mention direct revenue, for publishers. In light of that, Meredith’s commitment to make not one but 10 shows for the platform may seem especially aggressive. And that’s on purpose. Meredith has been trying to accelerate the growth of its digital business. That was a big reason why the company acquired Time Inc. last year and has been making video a more important part of its pitch to advertisers this year, such as by extending its sales guarantee to video ads.
Meredith will present the IGTV slate it will present at NewFronts West on Oct. 9.
Meredith’s investment in episodic shows on IGTV may be coming at an opportune time, given that Instagram has seen IGTV viewers gravitate toward serialized content. Meredith is still determining how it will schedule the airing of its shows’ episodes, but Snyder said episode lengths will range somewhere under 10 minutes but above three minutes.