Instagram on Wednesday launched IGTV, a new long-from video platform that gives marketers another way to reach its vast audience - which now stands at 1 billion users.
Users who log into IGTV for the first time will automatically start seeing viertical videos which were created by the people that they already follow but this being Instagram and by extension, Facebook, things do not stop there. The video section will feature content from people users already follow on their account, Instagram said Wednesday.
Video will be available through Instagram or a new app called IGTV. It will allow creators to produce 4K vertical videos that are significantly longer than the current limit of 60 seconds.
While you're watching the videos, you can comment, share or like without leaving the full-screen video mode - a property Instagram seems to have borrowed from its parent company, Facebook. IGTV has channels but the creators are the channels.
Facebook wants to take on YouTube, and it's using Instagram to do it.
Still, this new platform won't quite have the flexibility of YouTube - for example, while one hour would be more than sufficient for most content creators, it's not exactly YouTube's generous maximum time of 12 hours.
Instagram has been outpacing rival social networks such as Twitter and Snapchat and has been gaining younger users even as Facebook itself has seen declines in the youth segment. As for now IGTV is ad-free, but companies are sure to make use of this new streaming platform for targeted ads pretty soon. Instagram doesn't now allow video ads, but Systrom said it eventually will. To jump-start the service, Instagram asked hundreds of prominent users including Kim Kardashian West, Kevin Hart and Selena Gomez to post videos to the service. But it's also an obvious effort on Instagram's part to compete with YouTube and its army of influencers.
IGTV could not only evolve as a monetising platform but also as a platform which supports viewership.