Instagram announced its entry into long-form video with a new app IGTV, which will also run as a separate tab within the Instagram app. Rumours of Instagram’s entry into the long-form video space had been doing the rounds for a while given the image sharing platforms steep growth and popularity in key markets like North America.
“It’s time for video to move forward, and evolve,” said Instagram CEO and co-founder Kevin Systrom onstage at the launch event, where it also announced that Instagram has 1 billion monthly active users. Having taken on Snapchat and become five times its size, Instagram is now taking on YouTube — the mammoth of global video-streaming, which just announced that it has 1.8 billion logged-in users.
Launching head-on into long-form video, Instagram announced that long-form vertical video on IGTV can go as long as ten minutes. The app is also making some exceptions for creators with ‘massive’ following: they can post up to 60 minutes of video. IGTV videos will all be prerecorded, and not live, at least not yet.
Videos on the new standalone app will appear as rectangular thumbnails at the bottom of the screen and will go full-screen with a tap. Note that IGTV feeds will be curated and personalized for users. Instagram’s approach to IGTV mimics what it did with Boomerang, its standalone app for creating one-second video loops, which also exists within Instagram. For now, IGTV will exist both as its own app and as a feature within the main Instagram app. The approach is reflective of how parent company Facebook buoys its products into the market; Messenger was initially available in-app, and later split into a standalone app in 2014.
No ads, for now
No ads will run on IGTV – at least not yet. “Right now we’re focused on building engagement, and there are no ads in IGTV in day one,” Systrom told the press after the event. “But that is a very reasonable place to end up. There will obviously be a way for creators to make a living since they spend their lives doing this.”It in unclear how Instagram will compensate creators, especially those with large audience because creators have largely made money on Instagram through brand partnerships and ad revenue sharing.
1 billion active users
Instagram also announced that it now has 1 billion monthly active users worldwide. In September 2017, it had 800 million users, 200 million more than in September 2016. So the growth rate seems consistent where the platform seems to be added 200 million users a year. It’s unclear where most of these new users came from. Last year, most of the growth was attributed to the launch of Stories. Over the past year, the company’s expanded in-app creation tools by letting users add GIFs, emoji sliders, and polls to their stories.