It’s been a big week for the digital giants. The big disruptors – who have between them completely re-shaped the media landscape in the last decade – are now making significant moves into new(ish) territories in the quest for growth.

Facebook: TV and sport

In a bid to compete with YouTube, Instagram (part of the Facebook family) has launched IGTV, allowing users and publishers to upload longer-form videos. While previously there was an upper limit of one-minute for videos, Instagram’s new function has given users a way to create and host video of up to an hour in length.

Instagrammers are posting cautiously so far with many videos being 30 minutes or less. However, according to one expert, “IGTV is a long-haul game. A few cycles will need to pass with significant amounts of content being created and consumers having to consume it. And a culture being set”.

It’s also been revealed that Facebook’s video strategy is evolving further, with news that it is set to acquire the Brazilian rights to stream the UEFA Champions League for the next three years. The deal – which was agreed with Brazilian TV channel Esporte Interativo – will begin for the 2018/2019 season and is the latest in a series of moves that is positioning Facebook to be big competitors in the sports rights business.

Google: music

YouTube Music has gone live in 17 markets including the US, UK and Canada. The app is similar to that of its competitors, in that the free version is subsidised through ad revenue, with various price plans ranging from £10-£20 a month.

YouTube is hoping its recommendation engine in particular will help it to distinguish itself from competitors such as Apple Music and Spotify. This opt in service monitors factors such as location, time, weather and makes suggestions of what listeners might want to hear.

Snapchat: gaming

In a quest to remain competitive amongst the other social media platforms, Snap is developing a hub of in-app games. The move is not entirely surprising given that Tencent, Snap’s biggest investor, recently turned the top mobile messaging app in China – WeChat – into a platform for in-app games.

The app will go beyond its previous efforts of incorporating smaller games, and when launched will have a store to download games. After the success for Snapchat of AR selfie games – Snappables – there are whispers that the gaming hub will focus on AR games for the front camera.

Spotify: emerging markets

In a move to grow its presence in emerging markets, Spotify has started to roll out a slimmed down version of its app, appropriately titled ‘Spotify Lite’. The app which is currently only available on Android in Brazil will only take up around 15MB as opposed to the regular app which is around 100MB.

The app comes with all the basic features that Spotify offers; allowing the user to discover new music and stream it online for free. It also has the ability to track data usage and storage. The plan is to roll out the new app to markets such as India.

The march of the giants continues – and we will be sure to keep you all posted with future developments.


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