While the sudden banning of TikTok from India has left a void for all creators, the demand for video-making apps has increased ever since. To help consumers fill this void and to prevent the use of Chinese apps, Instagram is starting a broad pilot of its new feature Instagram Reels in India more than a week after India banned 58 Chinese apps citing security concerns.
The feature is expected to be available for users from 7:30 pm on Wednesday, the new release will feature content from popular influencers such as Ammy Virk, Gippy Grewal, Komal Pandey, Arjun Kanungo, Jahnavi Dasetty aka Mahathalli, Indrani Biswas aka Wondermunna, Kusha Kapila, Radhika Bangia, RJ Abhinav, and Ankush Bhaguna.
“India, which is the fourth market where Instagram is testing this feature, is expected to be a key test market for Reels, with videos accounting for nearly a third of all posts on Instagram in India. About 45% of all videos posted into the feed last month are 15 seconds or less,” said Vishal Shah, Vice President of Product, Facebook.
Back in November 2019, the initial testing started in Brazil following which this year the feature was launched in France and Germany in June 2020. Along with other Instagram flagship features like Boomerang, Superzoom, Instagram live and other, Instagram Reels would also soon join the league of its flagship features.
Similar to TikTok, Instagram Reels would allow users to create and edit short video clips of 15 seconds, add and mix sounds, lip-sync, dance, and shoot. Users will be able to share the short videos on Instagram’s explore tab and would also be allowed to post these Reels to their story or their profiles through Reels tab.
“Instagram Explore will feature a new dedicated space for videos created through Reels feature, which could help creators to tap into a larger audience for their videos. More than 50% of accounts on Instagram globally visit the Explore tab on a monthly basis,” said Ajit Mohan, Vice President, and Managing Director, Facebook India.
The testing of Reels comes one and a half years after Lasso – a Tik Tok Clone app was shut down by Facebook.
Instagram Reels comes as a rival to many apps that are trying to establish themselves after the TikTok ban like Chingari, Mitro, Sharechat’s Moj, Roposo and many others.
The benefit this feature carries for the creators is better monetization through brand-led promotions on Instagram. On the music partnerships front, Facebook signed a global licensing deal with music label Saregama in June this year to gain access to a catalogue of over 100,000 songs across several different genres including film songs, devotional music, ghazals & Indipop in more than 25 languages, providing a huge spectrum of music to the creators.
Ties with landmark music labels like T-series, Zee Music Company, YRF is promising to provide a huge catalogue of songs to shoot with.
While a lot of development and planning has been done to optimize user experience in Instagram Reels, it would be interesting to see the response it gets from the users keeping in view the huge demand, lockdown, and India’s digital strike on China.