Instagram launched a new hub for long-form video, the company’s latest attempt to tap into growing demand among consumers and advertisers for mobile video.
The new hub, called IGTV, is both a stand-alone app and a section of the primary Instagram app that will allow users to post high-definition videos. Some of the most influential “creators” on the platform already are slated to create content for the feature, including
an actress and model who has 25.2 million followers.
The content on IGTV is varied. At a press demonstration Wednesday, Instagram executives showed video clips featuring wildlife explorers and amateur cooks.
Each of Instagram’s 1 billion monthly active users will be able to view the video by swiping through a section in the app.
IGTV is focused on vertical videos—videos taller than they are wide—meant to be consumed by users who are holding their phones upright.
IGTV initially won’t feature ads and the company isn’t paying creators directly to use the feature. But Instagram CEO
said he expects the company eventually will introduce ads and potentially provide a share of that revenue to creators who post on the site.
“That is obviously a very reasonable place to end up,” Mr. Systrom said during a news conference. “And if we end up in that place, which we think we will, there will obviously be a way for creators to make a living.”
By increasing the length and quality of video on Instagram, the image-sharing social media network may be trying to tap into the multibillion-dollar market for TV advertising. Marketers have so far been slow to shift their budgets from TV to new video formats, but upfront spending of digital advertising is increasing.
By launching IGTV, Instagram seems poised to compete with other tech platforms, such as Snapchat and YouTube, that have housed video from high-profile individuals and media organizations for years.
Snapchat in 2015 launched Snapchat Discover, a feature that allows publishers including National Geographic, Vice and Cosmopolitan to upload daily multimedia “stories.” YouTube has launched YouTube Premium, a paid streaming-subscription service, and YouTube TV, a skinny bundle of live-streaming broadcast and cable channels.
Instagram was founded in 2010 as a photo-sharing service by Mr. Systrom and fellow Stanford University graduate
Built as an app for the iPhone, it grew rapidly as users gravitated to its novel filters, which transformed the appearance of photos.
Facebook acquired Instagram for about $1 billion in 2012. Instagram’s feed also has posts from advertisers.
IGTV comes about two years after the launch of Instagram Stories, a feature that allows users to share photos and multiple short videos of up to 15 seconds, uploaded within a 24-hour time span.
Instagram also announced Wednesday that it hit 1 billion monthly users. With this news, all four of Facebook’s key services—the main Facebook app, its two chat apps Messenger and WhatsApp, and Instagram—each have a billion or more users.