Instagram Debuts YouTube Rival IGTV Video App for ‘Creators’

June 20, 2018, 7:15 PM UTC

Instagram is betting that its new IGTV video app will be a hit with young adults and millennials already smitten with rival YouTube.

The Facebook-owned (FB) online photo-sharing platform debuted on Wednesday its new service that will host user-created videos that can span as long as an hour. Instagram’s current app only allows for videos that are one minute in length.

The goal of the new video app is to lure consumers to create and share their homemade videos on Instagram’s platform.

Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom announced the new video service in San Francisco during a lavish press event in which a number of so-called creators danced their way on stage to help the executive pump up the new service.

Systrom said that Instagram now has 1 billion monthly active viewers, underscoring how popular the photo-sharing app has become since it first debuted about eight years ago.

In a press conference after the kickoff speech, Systrom said that while conventional Instagram users will be able to watch videos uploaded to IGTV via a special tab within the app, executives made the decision not to display IGTV videos within users’ main Instagram feeds.

Based on the company’s internal research, Systrom said that people don’t want to watch longer videos, which can upset the rapid-way pace Instagram users tend to view content on the service.

“We don’t anticipate that much interaction between the two,” Systrom said of IGTV and the core Instagram app.

That said, Instagram users who upload video to IGTV, will have their accounts linked so that their longer videos will be shared to all of their followers, thus negating the concern that new IGTV users will essentially have to start from scratch to build their audience.

Currently, Instagram has no plans to pay its video creators with large followings. Instead, creators who happen to have marketing deals with third-party companies will be allowed to display those advertising links on their IGTV profile page.

Besides being longer in length, videos that are displayed via the IGTV service will take up the entire screen of a person’s smartphone.

“It’s mobile first,” Systrom said. “Everything is made for how you naturally hold your phone.”

The new video service underscores Instagram’s efforts to fend off competition by rivals like YouTube and Snapchat that operate competing social media and video services favored by young adults and teenagers.

Instagram debuted its Stories feature similar to Snapchat in 2016 as a way to let users post photos or videos that disappear within 24 hours.

YouTube has been a hit with Internet celebrities that have gained large followings of young adults, and some of the creators who Instagram showcased at its press event also maintain popular YouTube accounts.

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Lele Pons, a Venezuelan-American social media celebrity with 25 million Instagram followers, told reporters that she has no plans to ditch YouTube, but will instead continue to post one video a week to the Google-owned video service in addition to her plans to upload a weekly video to IGTV.

The new IGTV video app could be a way for Facebook to hedge its bets in case its Watch online video service fails to get the attention of young adults and teenagers. A recent Pew Research Center survey from May found that teenagers are ditching Facebook in favor of YouTube, Instagram, and Snapchat.

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