Instagram announces video service IGTV to rival YouTube

Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom unveiled Instagram’s new video platform at an event in San Francisco

  • By Fernando Moncada Rivera | Thursday, June 21st, 2018

Instagram’s new video service brings with it an opportunity for the app to generate revenue through ads, something it doesn’t currently do

On June 20, photo-sharing company Instagram announced it would launch a video service on a separate app in a bid to draw younger users away from YouTube. The new app, called IGTV, was revealed by Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom at an event in San Francisco.

IGTV will look to differentiate itself from rivals such as YouTube and Snapchat by providing long-form videos that can play on vertical full screen mode. Currently, videos on Snapchat – and on Instagram itself – are limited to around one minute, while YouTube videos can only be played on full screen when horizontal.

IGTV will look to differentiate itself from rivals such as YouTube and Snapchat by providing long-form videos that can play on vertical full screen mode

It will be a standalone app but will still be accessible through the existing picture-sharing app so as to allow existing Instagram users access immediately upon launch

Longer videos will allow Instagram to monetise its business through ads, which it currently does not allow. The company has said that when the ads eventually come, it intends to share the revenue with content creators, in the mould of YouTube.

“Teens are now watching 40 percent less TV than they did five years ago,” said Systrom at the announcement event. “It’s time for video to move forward and evolve.” He also said the company has surpassed one billion users for the first time since its launch in 2010.

IGTV’s launch comes as Instagram’s parent company, Facebook, is struggling to retain teenage audiences on its platform and is still reeling from a recent string of privacy scandals. According to a recent poll by the Pew Research Centre, only 51 percent of US teenagers said they used Facebook, compared to 71 percent in 2015.

In terms of customer awareness, Instagram is in a good position to launch a platform like IGTV; Pew also shows 72 percent of teenagers in the US use Instagram, coming second only to YouTube which has captured 85 percent. Like YouTube before it, IGTV hopes to be a platform where unknown creators can develop video content and gain a large – and primarily young – following.