The days of monopoly for YouTube are over as Instagram today announced the launch of Instagram TV (IGTV), a feature and app that will allow for long videos like YouTube, at a food-and-influencer-filled event in San Francisco. Announcing the launch, co-founder of Instagram, Kelvin Systrom who first announced and thanked everyone on Instagram’s reach of one billion users, said IGTV is Instagram’s most exciting feature to date.
IGTV is a new app for watching long-form, vertical video and will also exist as a tab within Instagram’s existing app. IGTV is different in a few ways. First, it’s built for how you actually use your phone, so videos are full screen and vertical. On IGTV, long-form vertical videos can go as long as ten minutes (previously, Instagram videos were limited to one minute). Instagram is making some exceptions for creators with massive audiences: They can post up to 60 minutes of video.
GTV videos will all be pre-recorded, not live, although Instagram product manager Ashley Yuki indicated that live video is something the company will be looking at in the future. 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. Furthermore, unlike the main Instagram app, which shows video “Stories” as bubbles at the top of the page and displays uploaded videos as part of the regular feed, IGTV videos will appear as a series of rectangular thumbnails at the bottom of a creator’s page. Once you tap on one, the video goes full screen. On the lower left-hand corner of each video are the same three icons as seen now on Instagram: a heart, a comment bubble, and a share tool.

Tapping on any of these icons, will result to the same functionality as on the main Instagram app. Remember Boomerang? – Instagram’s standalone app for creating one-second video loops, which also exists within Instagram. Instagram’s approach to IGTV is similar to what it did with Boomerang. For now, IGTV will exist both as its own app and as a feature within the main Instagram app. Throughout the event, Instagram made clear what was driving its decision to support long-form video: It’s trying to appeal to a younger generation of consumers who are increasingly consuming video on mobile devices. Both Systrom (co-founder of Instagram) and Yuki ( Instagram Product Manager) cited data that show teenagers are watching 40 percent less TV than they did just five years ago. However, from both a consumption and a content-creation perspective, IGTV is going directly up against YouTube, which just announced it has more than 1.9 billion monthly logged-in users, and is already well established as a place for creators to distribute long form video. Instagram hopes the platform will be used by already-popular creators, like former Vine star Lele Pons, who has more than 25 million Instagram followers and who also appeared on stage at the launch. The app is launching with a group of pre-selected video stars, including publishers like National Geographic, which has more than 88 million followers on Instagram, but it will be open to anyone who uses Instagram over the coming weeks. Although for now, IGTV was being sold as a place to watch entertainment, rather than share life updates with a group of close friends. And, while there won’t be any ads on IGTV as it starts – ads will surely come in very soon. “Right now we’re focused on building engagement, and there are no ads in IGTV in day one,” Systrom said to a group of reporters after the event. “But that is a very reasonable place to end up.

There will obviously be a way for creators to make a living since they spend their lives doing this.” Ads already run on some creators’ videos on Facebook. This is obviously good news for active users who have never been comfortable with Instagram’s 60 seconds limit to videos. More so, it poses a threat to YouTube at least for its registration process. While Instagram users automatically get access to watch, post, comment, like and share videos on IGTV, YouTube users have to sign in and create an account before they can post, like, comment or share videos on YouTube.
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