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.
IGTV is a new app that lets users work long-form video shot vertically on your smartphones. The concept competes with Google's YouTube. Instagram has come up with a few ways to make the service different from what users expect from YouTube, however. As with Snapchat's Discover hub, IGTV videos will be vertical and will be separated across multiple channels, which can be browsed individually or happened upon via a smattering of content discovery tools.
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Facebook acquired Instagram in April 2012 for a combination of cash and stock worth some $1 billion at the time.
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"Since our launch in 2010, we've watched with amazement as the community has flourished and grown", Systrom said in a blog post. You will be able to view the content using the Instagram app too, apparently.
When users open the app, IGTV starts playing immediately.
While much of what Instagram announced on Wednesday is similar to what YouTube and others have done before, it is not bankrolling the creation of any shows - a strategy that competitors such as YouTube, Amazon and Netflix used to fuel interest in their young video platforms.
IGTV will have dedicated sections, including For You, Popular, Continue Watching, and Following, which you will be able to swipe through when you want to watch something new.
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But if you're reading this and dreaming of quitting your day job to make videos for Instagram checks, you better drum up a huge following fast.
Systrom further explains, "Also like TV, IGTV has channels". Facebook, still reeling from the fallout of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, likely would not enjoy reliving YouTube's nightmare, so it will be interesting to see how IGTV addresses numerous same issues that have sparked on YouTube over the years, since apparently that's the kind of content, and the sort of creators, it's trying to court. When you follow a creator on Instagram, their IGTV channel will show up for you to watch.
The app is aimed at what Instagram calls "creators", but anyone can create and upload videos.
This will be interesting to watch play out as IGTV goes head to head with YouTube and Snapchat's explore feature. We hope it brings you closer to the people and things you love.
IGTV launched as its own app on Wednesday in the U.S., though it's possible to view videos and get recommendations for what to watch through the traditional Instagram app. Instagram ultimately intends that there will be no time limit on any accounts, Systrom said.
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