Instagram yesterday at an event in San Francisco lunched a new app for creators, IGTV.
The Company will now begin to allow its users post and watch videos up to one hour long in vertical form with the new standalone app..
Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom said the app was designed to make it easier to find and watch videos on the mobile phone. He noted that most video apps require you to search or browse through a long directory but IGTV, on the other hand, will simply start playing video the moment you open it.
Among other things, this “lean back” mode could make IGTV a powerful new place for Instagram to put ads.
IGTV will also allow creators to upload video directly to Instagram, a product manager said, representing an effort to turn the app into a home for mobile video to rival YouTube. Videos can be up to 10 minutes long to start, with larger accounts able to post hourlong videos. Over the long term, the company expects to let all users post videos of unlimited length, Systrom said.
There will be no ads on IGTV to start, but that would be “a reasonable place to end up,” Systrom Instgram CEO said. He said there would be a revenue-sharing deal with partners eventually, but not to start.
Instagram’s introduction of 24-hour, stories and and direct messaging features were designed to make it a primary communication channel for its users. IGTV represents an effort to expand in a different direction toward connecting people toward their broader interests. Instagram would increasingly try to both marry personal relationships and interests, Systrom said. “You can’t really get that anywhere else that unique mix of the two,” Systrom said.
How IGTV Works
IGTV will let anyone be a creator, not just big-name celebrities. People will be able to upload vertical videos through Instagram’s app or the web. Everyone except smaller and new accounts will be able to upload hour-long videos immediately, with that option expanding to everyone eventually.
The IGTV app will be available globally on iOS and Android sometime today, as well as in the Instagram app through a TV shaped button above Stories.
“We made it a dedicated app so you can tap on it and enjoy video without all the distraction,” Systrom explained.
In IGTV’s dedicated app or its in-Instagram experience, viewers will be able to swipe through a variety of longer-form videos, or swipe up to visit a Browse tab of personally recommended videos, popular videos, creators they’re following and the option to continue watching previously started videos. Users will also get callouts from the IGTV button alerting them to new content.
IGTV will also let creators develop Instagram Channels full of their different videos that people can subscribe to. Creators will be able to put links in the description of their videos to drive traffic elsewhere.
No Commercials In IGTV…Yet
“There’s no ads in IGTV today,” says Systrom, but he says it’s “obviously a very reasonable place [for ads] to end up.”
He explained that since creators are investing a lot of time into IGTV videos, he wants to make that sustainable by offering them a way to monetize in the future. Instagram isn’t paying any creators directly for IGTV videos either, like Facebook did to jump-start its flopped Facebook Watch video hub.
With 1 billion users on Instagram, IGTV could be popular with creators not only trying to earn money but grow their audience.