Instagram is already a major heavy hitter in the social media industry, but now they are set to compete head-to-head with YouTube. Today in San Francisco, at a jazzy event, Instagram announced they will start letting its users upload videos lasting up to one hour, which is substantially longer than the current one-minute limit.
Where will these longer videos be stored?
The company is also launching IGTV. It will be easily accessible right from the platform’s home screen and on the standalone IGTV app. IGTV will start featuring popular videos from Instagram celebs. TechCrunch has been sharing reports of this scoop for the past month, outlining the app’s features and the potential that IGTV has.
Just a few weeks ago, WSJ reported that Instagram would start allowing videos of up to one hour in length. Instagrams CEO, Kevin Systrom announced onstage at the event that, “It’s time for video to move forward, and evolve. IGTV is for watching long-form videos from your favorite creators.” Instagram’s business blog made this big announcement just before Kevin took the stage.
How Will It Work?
This new app allows anyone to be a creator. It’s not just for the popular Instagram stars out there. Instagram users will be able to upload vertical videos via Instagram on the web or within the app. While new and smaller accounts will not be allowed to upload hour-long videos for now, that option will probably expand to everyone in time. Sometime today, the IGTV app will be made available on iOS and Android operating systems and will be available worldwide. The TV-shaped button in the Instagram app will be added above the Stories button where you can access IGTV.
Kevin explained that they created a dedicated app so people can just tap on it then enjoy videos without any distractions. Viewers will have the ability to swipe through several long-form videos or visit the included Browse tab of video recommendations, popular creators, or popular videos for you to view. The option to continue where you left off on previously viewed videos will be one of its functions. Users will get notifications (callouts) from the IGTV button letting them know there is new content to explore. Creators will also be able to establish Instagram Channels that they can fill with their videos. People can subscribe to their channels just like you can on YouTube. You will see descriptions of the videos that help creators to drive traffic to another site.
Commercial-Free Viewing — for Now
Currently, there are no ads in IGTV today, according to Kevin, but he says that it is “obviously a very reasonable place for ads to end up.” Since creators will invest a lot of their time into creating video content for IGTV, they will want a sustainable way to monetise their videos in the near future. Instagram isn’t going to be paying creators directly for their IGTV videos, learning from the mistakes of Facebook and how its video watching hub failed.
Instagram currently has 1 billion users, which will encourage creators to use the platform to grow their audience as well as to try to earn money. Instagram could soon build out the option for monetisation for IGTV creators, potentially allowing them to benefit from ad revenue shares. The large user base may also attract advertisers, which will expand on ad revenue solutions for creators. Instagram is expected to earn $5.48 billion in U.S ad revenue this year, according to eMarketer. Even Facebook shareholders are loving the idea of more premium ad inventory that businesses desire as the shift from television to online video grows. Facebook saw a share rise price of over 2.2% just today.
Instagram has quickly and efficiently been evolving well beyond its initial simple beginnings of sharing and filtering images. At the time of its initial launch, mobile networks, cameras, and display screens were not prepared for long-form videos. We are living in an era where people, especially families, are cutting the television cord and where teens don’t watch TV at all due to online video viewing and being given the choice of when, where, and what to watch. YouTube will likely continue to have the extended breadth of content, but Instagram’s IGTV could potentially become the go-to spot for watching content on small screens.