Why TV should capitalize on Instagram and Vine, the new video networks

By Cory Bergman 

As many expected, Instagram announced the addition of video in a press conference today: up to 15 second clips with 13 different filters, basic on-the-fly editing, custom thumbnails and an image stabilization technology called Cinema. “This is the same Instagram we know and love, but it moves,” explained co-founder Kevin Systrom. The updated app is now available, both on iOS and Android.

The new features are a step above Vine, which has grown like wildfire with its 6-second clips — even faster than Instagram’s initial rise. Instagram’s community is much larger: it sees 1 billion (not million) “likes” a day on the platform, Systrom said. Clearly, the mobile video wars are now underway, with Facebook’s Instagram and Twitter’s Vine facing off on center stage.

(It is worth nothing that Instagram’s 15 seconds is much more TV-friendly than Vine’s 6 seconds. Many promos and commercials are already cut for 15-second versions on TV.)

YouTube remains the elephant in the room, but its “biggest strategic weakness is in mobile. And that’s exactly where they’re slipping,” suggests Chill founder Brian Norgard. “YouTube should be concerned.”

YouTube said that 40% of video views are now on mobile devices, and the number continues to grow. But you can imagine how Facebook and Twitter could favor their own video services over YouTube in future product development.

The bigger picture here is Instagram and Vine will dramatically accelerate the volume of video recorded on a daily basis. They apps are designed to simplify the act of capturing moments, and by extension, as people get accustomed to using them to shoot quick clips of their dog, they’ll reach for the apps when they happen to stumble on a breaking news story. The volume of news coverage via Instagram and Vine will skyrocket, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they challenged YouTube as a breaking news source for US stories within six months to a year.

Both apps have geolocation built in, making it easy for news organizations to search locations for the latest news video. Earlier this week, a quick search of Denver International Airport yielded dozens of photos and a couple Vine videos of a tornado overhead.

For TV brands looking for more social touchpoints, the addition of these new mobile video networks should be music to your ears. Video is what you do, and the possibilities for coverage, promotion and transmedia storytelling are endless — especially as Instagram and Vine leverage their parents’ social reach to drive more engagement. We’ve already written about both Instagram and Vine’s popularity among TV, and they’ll only increase.

After all, mobile video is just getting warmed up: 4G LTE service continues to roll out across the country, and 4G LGE Advanced is right around the corner, featuring 2X download speeds. “Buffering” will be a nuisance of the past. And just wait for the live video era — that’s coming next.