Instagram unveils video app Reels in India to take on TikTok

Facebook on Friday launched its short video making app Instagram Reels in India in a bid to take on TikTok.
TikTok rival Instagram Reels from Facebook
The Reels Tab is a new tab in the navigation bar which will replace the Explore tab in Instagram.

Customers can use Reels to record and edit 15-second multi-clip videos with audio, effects and new creative tools.

The photo-sharing platform started testing Reels on Instagram earlier this month.

“We’re expanding this test in India to most of the country. India is the first market we’re launching in due to the interest and creativity we’ve seen. We’re hoping this tab makes it easier for people to see and enjoy Reels,” said Manish Chopra, director and head of Partnerships, Facebook India.

Reels will no longer be in a unit in Explore.

The tab will show Reels, and will have an immersive auto-playing video, a creation entry point that opens to the Reels camera and a sound on by default with tap to toggle on/off, Instagram said.

The Explore tab can be accessed at the top right of your Feed in Instagram.

After the departure of Tik Tok, Instagram Reels became the most popular app for young Indians as seven in 10 (18-29 age group) said they would like to use Reels as a platform for video sharing.

Nearly two-thirds of urban Indians (65 percent) said they are likely to turn to alternatives or start using video apps that are either Indian or non-Chinese in origin, according to data provided by YouGov, an Internet-based market research and data analytics firm.

Nearly 68 percent TikTok content creators said they are likely to switch to Indian or non-Chinese versions of video sharing apps.

Reels can be recorded in a series of clips — one at a time, all at once, or using video uploads from your gallery.

Though TikTok has lost its biggest market in terms of users in India after the ban, the damage is not as hard as it would be to lose the US market, according to research firm Forrester.

The US is TikTok’s second-largest market after India in terms of downloads. While TikTok has nearly 120 million users in India, it has about 100 million in the US, Xiaofeng Wang, senior analyst at Forrester said.

Forrester said the social media advertising spending in 2020 will reach $37.374 billion in the US and only $1.673 billion in India.

TikTok business sales talk in the US has once again hit the roadblock after China’s update of the technology export rules. The update covers Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies used by ByteDance, the Chinese firm that owns TikTok.

While Walmart entered into the fray in partnership with Microsoft, Oracle is another top contender for the deal.