Instagram launched a new long-form video app on Wednesday, while also announcing that the Facebook-owned social media platform has now surpassed one billion users.
Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom announced the app, dubbed “IGTV,” pushes past Instagram’s current 1-minute limit on videos, allowing users to make videos up to 60-minutes long, at an event at the company’s San Francisco headquarters.
Systrom also found time to mention Instagram had passed 1 billion active users — a 25 percent increase since last September.
“IGTV” will live as a stand-alone app, but users will also be able to find its content from a button at the top of the Instagram app. Users will see a collection of popular clips, and have the ability to resume watching videos they haven’t finished. There was no mention of when “IGTV” will be available for download.
Systrom said “IGTV” is “built for how you actually use your phone, so videos are full screen and vertical.” He added the app aims to make discovery easier for users. Instead of searching for clips, “IGTV” will open directly to videos, and allow users to swipe to find more content.
The event was peppered with several Instagram stars, including Lele Pons and Lauren Riihimaki. Instagram has been encouraging several social influencers to create 10-minute vlogs, similar to those found on YouTube, with the new video limits, according to a report from TechCrunch.
“IGTV is for watching long-form videos from your favorite creators,” said Systrom.
After copying several features from its chief rival, Snapchat, in recent years, adding long-form video now allows Instagram to take on YouTube when it comes to video views. Differentiating itself from the more traditional shows found on Facebook Watch, Instagram has turned to online creators to shape “IGTV.” Adding long-form video only makes it more appealing for creators to use now — and in turn, for users to keep their eyes fixated on the app.
“When it comes to video, it’s a great medium for Instagram, because we’re already ready to look at pictures, so looking at videos is just another step for it,” Ross Gerber, CEO of Gerber Kawasaki Wealth and Investment, told TheWrap. “All the engagement is on Instagram now, so long-form video has a wonderful place on Instagram. I do think it’s a threat to YouTube.”
Facebook’s stock was up about 2.9 percent to $203.20 on Wednesday heading into the announcement.