Instagram is taking on YouTube with the launch of its new video app: IGTV.
The photo-based social network, which is owned by Facebook but has a younger demographic, has made a successful business model out of taking inspiration from other new media players. It recently introduced a clone of Snapchat’s Stories feature, which allows users to post updates that disappear within 24 hours, an addition that has helped to continue pushing its growth to a staggering 1 billion users.
Now, it’s borrowing an idea from another online giant: video. Instagram currently allows people to upload videos of up to 60 seconds. Now, it’s expanding the potential for video publishing on the platform, with IGTV allowing people to post videos of up to an hour long.
IGTV will be a new app for watching videos from Instagram creators, such as King Bach and LarDIY. IGTV will also be integrated into the main Instagram app, with its own dedicated tab. Instagram is banking on full-screen vertical videos to help its platform stand out, which is says is “built for how you actually use your phone”. IGTV also starts playing as soon as you open the app, so you don’t have to search to find content from people you already follow.
Users can swipe up to discover more — switching between “For You,” “Following,” “Popular” and “Continue Watching” – and can also like, comment and send videos to friends in Direct.
IGTV channels are automatically shown for any creators that users watch – and anyone can be a creator by simply uploading their videos to the IGTV app.
“Instagram has always been a place to connect with the people who inspire, educate and entertain you every day. With your help, IGTV begins a new chapter of video on Instagram. We hope it brings you closer to the people and things you love,” said Kevin Systrom, Co-Founder & CEO, announcing the new feature.
One thing Instagram has not yet borrowed from YouTube, though, is how to monetise its video. Income is a key step towards securing a video platform’s popularity, as creators will only flock to a social network that is worth them using. Facebook, for example, is now investing lots of money in branded videos to encourage production for its own Facebook Watch service, while YouTube’s steady revenue system has helped it to ride out a year of problematic issues ranging from inappropriate content to advertiser boycotts.
When it comes to advertising or paying creators, Systrom tells Newbeat that Instagram is in “no rush to figure that out”. Nonetheless, for IGTV to truly grow in a market that has already raced ahead, it will need to help those producing its videos for them to help it.
IGTV will be rolling out globally over the next few weeks on Android and iOS.