Instagram announces new long-form video platform

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Instagram has launched IGTV at an event in San Francisco featuring numerous Instagram creators.

The move is clearly a competitive shot at YouTube, and Systrom explained that the longer format videos, combined with Instagram's billion-user reach, give creators more options within Instagram.

After rumors which just would not die Instagram has today taken the wraps off of IGTV, a standalone app for smartphones which is aimed at providing a home for long-form, vertical videos.

IGTV will let all users be a creator and let them upload vertical videos through Instagram's app or the web.

At an Instagram event this morning in San Francisco, CEO Kevin Systrom strode onstage and began talking about "old and outdated", "clunky and unnatural" video services that make you watch horizontal-oriented videos on a vertical smartphone screen and expect you to search or browse to find videos by your favorite creators. 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.

From what Instagram has shown so far, the service looks like a fun addition to Instagram's existing video tools. If you're not into that video, swipe to check out other creators' channels.

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Famed Pomeranian Jiffpom can now share videos up to an hour long on IGTV.

Systrom has no current plans to sell advertising on IGTV but said ads would likely be added in the future.

Any Instagram user outside of new accounts can upload hour-long videos, but the feature will eventually expand to include everyone, and these videos support links in their descriptions that may drive traffic to external sites. Once you update your Instagram app, look for the IGTV logo on the top-right side of your feed, next to the DM button.

Creators in the USA with more than 10,000 followers will be able to sell merchandise and host premieres, while those with 100,000 followers will be able to offer paid memberships.

Instagram's efforts in original video come after its parent company has worked for months to build up Facebook Watch, a TV tab within the social networking app. Facebook has paid studios and news partners to create content that lives on Facebook, ideally creating buzz and spurring people to share with their friends. Actually, IGTV is launching without any ads at all, and Instagram isn't making direct payments to stars, either. Instagram has always been a place to connect with the people who inspire, educate and entertain you every day. We hope it brings you closer to the people and things you love. Just like Instagram, IGTV will not have specified "content creators" and encourages engagement among all users.