Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom said IGTV is created to make it easier to find and watch videos on your smartphone, and the company added a few tricks YouTube doesn't have. While there's a stand-alone IGTV app, you'll also be able to watch from within the Instagram app so the entire community of one billion can use it from the very start.
"The way we are watching video is changing", Systrom told the event.
IGTV will be making its way to users over the coming weeks.
IGTV also has channels, just like a TV, but the channels are the creators themselves. Additionally, the company has just reached one billion users, which is no small feat.
In a world which is increasingly mobile, it may be a smart move by Instagram to cater to the unique characteristics of mobile devices in order to take on a behemoth such as YouTube, though it remains to be seen if the strategy pays off.
You'll see videos appear both inside the Instagram app and inside IGTV with the latter focusing on taking screen time away from platforms like YouTube which is now dominating the ad-driven streaming video space.
That is what's already happening on YouTube, which has become the world's most popular video outlet since Google bought it for $1.76 billion U.S. almost 12 years ago. Unlike YouTube, all the videos are vertical and videos in the IGTV app will start playing as soon as you launch it.
In his remarks, Systrom positioned IGTV as the latest step in the company's "evolution" and suggested that horizontal video is inconvenient in an era when media consumption is increasingly happening on smartphones.
At launch, IGTV videos can be up to 10 minutes long, while select creators will be allowed to make videos up to 60 minutes long.
That trend appears to be one of the reasons that Facebook is "hedging its bets" by opening Instagram to the longer-form videos typically found on YouTube, said analyst Paul Verna of the research firm eMarketer.
Through a blog post announcing the new service, Instagram pointed out that this is indeed longer vertical video.
So what will viewers be able to find on IGTV?
Instagram says that IGTV is rolling out over the next few weeks.
For creators and publishers, Watch is pitched as a platform to help them build an audience of fans and make money through advertisements - much like YouTube.
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