Instagram is launching its long-form video platform today. The company today launched IGTV, a standalone app that connects with Instagram to allow content creators and influencers to share longer, 1 hour-long videos on the platform.
IGTV is completely built for mobile devices, allowing users to view all the latest videos from content creators they already follow on Instagram. Users will also be able to discover IGTV content within the Explore tab on Instagram. Content creators can upload videos to IGTV from the app, or from the web. Instagram says IGTV is the future of video, but it’s not clear why the company is making users install a separate app — there is also little to no room to avoid installing IGTV, it will be deeply integrated within the main Instagram app, and notify you when content creators you follow publish a new video on IGTV.
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“Five years after the launch of video on Instagram, we are excited to introduce IGTV which brings audiences closer to the creators they love. We are re-envisioning mobile video with a new standalone surface that features longer videos and easy discoverability through channels, all in a vertical format that sits upright, in the palm of your hand,” the company said.
Instagram’s IGTV is ultimately going to be a direct competitor to YouTube, but the company is also targeting Snapchat’s Discover. The company has also managed to get a lot of popular influencers to start their own channels on IGTV, including Kim Kardashian, Ninja (the Fortnite streamer), Selena Gomez, Kevin Hart, Chris Hemsworth, Lele Pons, and others. Instagram’s pitch here is that watching video content on mobile devices is clunky (*cough* YouTube *cough*) and a platform dedicated to long-form, vertical videos will make things a lot more intuitive.
Instagram’s platform is also reaching a huge milestone today: 1 billion users. After hitting 800 million users back in September 2017, the company today announced it has 1 billion users. With the launch of IGTV, the company essentially wants to make its platform the go-to for entertainment — Instagram already has a huge amount of content for users, ranging from Stories, Live videos, to the classic photos and videos. The launch of IGTV not only paves the way for longer content, but it could also allow Instagram and its content partners make more money through advertising.