Video: Instagram debuts IGTV, a new standalone app for longer videos
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.
The new platform for content creators, which will be available as a standalone app and within Instagram, makes Instagram a more direct competitor with other digital media giants like YouTube as well as traditional media. It also gives Facebook, Instagram's parent company, a fresh channel for advertisers -- Instagram already accounts for a growing portion of Facebook's mobile ad revenue.
Calling IGTV its "most exciting feature to date," Instagram explained that videos on the app are fullscreen and vertical, optimized for watching on a smartphone. Each video can be up to an hour long. Anyone can post their own videos to IGTV via the app or the web and create their own "channel."
When users open the app, IGTV starts playing immediately. Users can follow different channels, and they swipe up to switch between the channels they follow as well as "for you" suggestions and "continue watching." Users can also like, comment and share videos with friends directly.
On the Instagram Business blog, the company offered this IGTV pitch to brands: "Build stronger connections with potential customers as you showcase other dimensions of your business without being limited to one type of content, length or format."
Citing 2017 data from Emarketer, Instagram noted that "these days, people are watching less TV and more digital video."
IGTV will be rolling out globally over the next few weeks on Android and iOS.