Instagram Unveils IGTV, A New Long-Form Video Service

Jeff ChiuAP Images

Instagram has announced that it’s offering a new service called IGTV for long-form videos, from professional Instagram creators at an event in San Francisco Wednesday morning, reports Variety. The new service will be situated both within the main Instagram app, as well as via a dedicated app for iOS and Android. “It’s mobile first, it’s simple and it’s high quality,” shared Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom.

“Teens may be watching less TV, but they are watching more creators online,” he said. Because of that, Systrom wanted IGTV to be Instagram’s answer to that paradigm shift so as to be able to meet their growing consumption needs. IGTV is to be both a hub within the current Instagram app, as well as a new dedicated app that allows users to watch IGTV videos. They will be produced by some of Instagram’s top creators and curated based on past viewing behavior of Instagram’s users, according to Variety. Interestingly, there won’t be any ads with the service at launch. So far, the company doesn’t have revenue share agreements in place with creators. “Right now, we are focused on building engagement,” Systrom said during a press Q&A following the announcement.

The official Instagram page released the above video, along with an announcement about the new service, saying, “IGTV is different in a few ways. First, it’s built for how you actually use your phone, so videos are full screen and vertical. Also, unlike on Instagram, videos aren’t limited to one minute. Instead, each video can be up to an hour long.”

This will come as good news to those who felt stymied by the small files Instagram was allowing to be shared on their service previously. But be careful watching if you’re at work. “Just like turning on the TV, IGTV starts playing as soon as you open the app. You don’t have to search to start watching content from people you already follow on Instagram and others you might like based on your interests.” While that might seem convenient, you want to be sure you’re someplace watching that having a video start playing won’t cause a problem.

They also want people to know that just like your TV at home, IGTV has channels except in IGTV, those channels are the creators themselves. As you follow a creator on Instagram, their IGTV channel will show up and be available to start watching. And like most of social media, anyone can be a creator so you can upload your own IGTV videos in the app or on the web to start your own channel. Considering the service is boasting that it now has a global community of one billion, that’s a lot of channels.