SAN FRANCISCO (CelebrityAccess) — Facebook’s video service Instagram today launched IGTV, a new app for watching long-form, vertical video.
Unlike Instagram’s previous videos, which were limited to 60 seconds, IGTV will allow content creators to upload longer videos – up to an hour long for some users – that can be viewed via Instagram, or through the standalone IGTV app, the company said.
The longest duration videos will only be available to Instagram/IGTV users with more than 10,000 followers. Those with fewer followers will be limited to just 10 minutes, though that is still a marked improvement over Instagram’s previous limitations.
The app will also allow viewers to subscribe to content creators, or to find new content with a suggestion system which will recommend new content based on a viewer’s interests and subscriptions. Viewers will be able to swipe up to discover more — switch between “For You,” “Following,” “Popular” and “Continue Watching.” You can also like, comment and send videos to friends in Direct, Instagram said.
“It’s time for video to move forward, and evolve,” said Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom during a press event announcing the launch of the service. “IGTV is for watching long-form videos from your favorite creators.”
To promote the new platform Instagram has tapped celebrities such as Selena Gomez and John Mayer to create and upload content for the new service.
The primary question that remains is how Instagram plans to make IGTV a profitable venture for both Instagram and content creators.
A spokesperson for Instagram told CNNMoney that advertising would not be a part of the platform at launch but said “we’ll be exploring and test ways to help creators monetize after launch.”
Instagram’s competitors have launched similar products in the past, including Snapschat’s “Discover Page” which launched in 2015. Discover also launched without ad monetization for content creators and instead paid licensing fees until last year when the service shifted to advertising-based revenue for creators.
IGTV will also need to overcome the inertia of the current elephant in the room YouTube, which has long served as the primary distribution channel for independent video content creators.
YouTube already provides robust video streaming in a variety of formats, while IGTV is limited to verticle or portrait mode videos. Content creators moving from YouTube to IGTV will also need to convince their YouTube subscribers to make the jump with them.
“There’s no ads in IGTV today,” Systrom, told TechCrunch, but noted that ads were “obviously a very reasonable place to end up.”
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