Instagram celebrates 1 billion users by announcing IGTV video platform

Oscar Cross
June 21, 2018

Instagram said on Wednesday (Jun 20) it now has more than one billion active users, as it unveiled a new long-form video feature in a bid to attract "creators" like those on YouTube.

IGTV will be available both on the main Instagram app (which, according to a blog post from the company, now reaches more than a billion accounts) and on an app of its own. Content on IGTV has a time-limit of an hour, and during a conference on Instagram Live, the Facebook-owned platform has already piloted the new service with influencers and creators.

"Teens are now watching 40 percent less TV than they did five years ago", Instagram Chief Executive Kevin Systrom said at an event to announce the launch in San Francisco. The service will be rolling out over the next few weeks to people around the world.

It will give Facebook more opportunities to sell advertising.

IGTV will allow users to upload clips that can range from 15 seconds to 60 minutes in length, up from its previous 60 second limit.

Instagram just effectively declared war on YouTube and Snapchat. People wanting to watch a one hour video on their TV, for instance, won't enjoy wasted screen real estate and black bars.

And speaking of apps, there really is a separate IGTV app on the way. Instagram, which Facebook bought in 2012 for $1 billion, has grown by adding features like messaging and short videos.

The concept of "creators" is heavy in this announcement, you follow a creators channel - basically their Instagram feed - in the IGTV app and their content automatically starts playing as soon as you open the app.

Mobile first: IGTV is built for how you actually use your phone: vertical and full screen. Users will also be able to discover IGTV content within the Explore tab on Instagram. When you follow a creator on Instagram, their IGTV channel will show up for you to watch.

Instagram is ready to take on YouTube with a new app. Once you post a video, you can also post it to Facebook simultaneously. And everyone remembers how swiftly Instagram was able to ape Snapchat with Instagram Stories and then quickly surpass Snapchat in users.

It's been said that Instagram wants to attract "web celebrities" to IGTV, rather than traditional media companies or publishing firms. Some of the most influential "creators" on the platform already are slated to create content for the feature, including Lele Pons, an actress and model who has 25.2 million followers. Creators will have their own dedicated channels, too.

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