Instagram just declared war on YouTube with a new longform-video app

Kevin Systrom on stage at the IGTV launch

Kevin Systrom on stage at the IGTV launch

Just as we had expected, Instagram has just unveiled a new app called IGTV that allows users to post long-form videos up to 10 minutes in length for the average user, and up to an hour for the platform's superstars.

However, Instagram won't be paying creators to make shows on IGTV, according to the Verge. The video section will feature content from people users already follow on their account. In addition to uploading and viewing these videos on mobile, you can do so on the web too. Total spending on online video ads in the expected to rise from almost $18 billion USA this year to $27 billion in 2021, according to eMarketer. The company has also managed to get a lot of popular influencers to start their own channels on IGTV, including Kim Kardashian, Ninja (the Fortnite streamer), Selena Gomez, Kevin Hart, Chris Hemsworth, Lele Pons, and others.

Yet Facebook's efforts to court viewers with YouTube-like channels has failed to catch interest. Facebook is paying for rights to shows now, but the company aims for the content to eventually be popular enough to be supported exclusively by advertising revenue.

It has been largely insulated from controversies, such as Facebook's data privacy woes or YouTube's problems with curation. Niche players like YouNow and Twitch also share ad revenues, but you'll need a sizable network to be accepted in.

Instagram is also growing quickly.

Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom made the announcement during an event in San Francisco today, exactly five years after the company first added video to its platform. Also, unlike on Instagram, videos aren't limited to one minute. "That's IGTV", Systrom said. "And if we end up in that place, which we think we will, there will obviously be a way for creators to make a living". The new app will allow creators to produce 4K vertical videos that are longer than the current limit of 60 seconds.

Here's the IGTV video example we came up with around the Yahoo Finance newsroom on Wednesday.

Everyone loves vertical video, right? Additionally, the company has just reached one billion users, which is no small feat. (By comparison, 85% use YouTube.) Instagram Stories, the feature that lets users post short, temporary video segments, has been a huge hit for the platform. Anyone will be able to launch an IGTV channel, leaving the door open for a community of homegrown creators to arise on the app.

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