Instagram has launched IGTV, a new standalone app that will allow users to watch long-form vertical video from popular creators on the platform. The company at an event in San Francisco announced that creators can now upload up to an hour long videos, which was previously limited to one minute. Though IGTV is a standalone app, users will be able to watch it from within the Instagram app as well. The Facebook-owned company also announced that Instagram now has one billion users globally.
IGTV will automatically begin playing vertical videos from people that the user follows as soon as one log in. The user can swipe up to explore a range of long-form videos from tabs like, “For You,” “Following,” and “Popular”. There’s a “Continue Watching” option as well. IGTV users can like, comment and send videos to friends in Direct. Creators on IGTV can develop Instagram Channels for different videos that viewers can subscribe to.
IGTV will not have ads to start with, but the company has made it clear that ads will be rolled out eventually. There are no ads on IGTV today, but that would be a “reasonable place to end up,” Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom said at the event. Instagram’s IGTV will rival YouTube and also Snapchat’s Discover. The move aims to attract the youth worldwide, who are drifting away from TV and exploring more content on their smartphones.
“Also like TV, IGTV has channels. But, in IGTV, the creators are the channels. When you follow a creator on Instagram, their IGTV channel will show up for you to watch. Anyone can be a creator — you can upload your own IGTV videos in the app or on the web to start your own channel,” reads a company blog post. Instagram IGTV app will roll out globally on Android and iOS platform over the new few weeks.
Instagram’s IGTV app comes at a time when parent company Facebook is trying to push a similar feature. Facebook’s video platfrom Watch has been updated with a new feature the lets creators make live streams more like games with polls and quizzes. In addition, the social media giant also announced to air Live PGA Tour coverage on its Watch tab.