We made some mistakes with IGTV: Instagram VP

Varun Aggarwal Mumbai | Updated on November 01, 2019 Published on November 01, 2019

Vishal Shah, Instagram’s Vice President of Product, talks about the company’s business model at Famous Studio, Mumbai, on Friday   -  Emmanual Yogini


It’s not often that you hear a product head of the company acknowledging product decision failures.

Vishal Shah, Vice-President of Products at Instagram, is the man behind many of Instagram key features including IGTV, an emerging competitor to Youtube and Tiktok.


Shah has no qualms to accept that the company made mistakes when it launched IGTV and speaking to BusinessLine, he talked about how Instagram is working towards recreating IGTV.

Vertical videos

“We made a couple of mistakes when we launched IGTV. I don’t think we as an industry talk enough about mistakes when we launch products. One of the mistakes we made was that we assumed the reason people would hire IGTV was because it was differentiated from vertical versus horizontal perspective,” Shah said.

IGTV’s vertical video format restricted users to create just vlogging kind of videos and wasn’t enough to add landscape shots and different perspective. Even Tiktok has been pushing the use of vertical videos but it works for Tiktok because their videos are short and are typically around a person talking directly to their followers or showing some of their dance moves, etc.

“Vertical video has a really important home for certain kinds of content. It’s very personal, it’s great for kind of a blogging format. It’s great for taking a video of a person, a chef, or a dancer and seeing them like it fits the frame of a person really well. But it’s not great for landscape shots, it’s not great for looking at a crowd of people if I was trying to take a shot of this room with stopping for that,” Shah said.

Upbeat on India

Shah is in India currently to meet Instagram creators here and learn about how they are using Instagram. He’s visiting not just big cities like Mumbai but also smaller ones like Ahmedabad and Surat in an attempt to understand the markets dominated by rival Tiktok.

He said India is an important market for Instagram not just from a scale perspective but also from a revenue point of view. With a large population of youngsters in India, Shah’s aim is to engage them on Instagram instead of other platforms.

“India is an incredibly important market for us. Literally the culture of the country matches so much of how we think of expression and culture and creativity on Intagram, whether it’s in dance, in religion, or in cricket. India is growing from leadership perspective, from a business perspective. We are excited to do even more in the Indian market. I’m here to learn about how people are using our platform,” Shah said.

Published on November 01, 2019
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