IGTV: Instagram launches devoted video app alongside new features

The launch has been supported by celebrities including Kim Kardashian West

Celebrities including Kim Kardashian West and famous pets will post onto the vertical video service
Celebrities including Kim Kardashian West and famous pets will post onto the vertical video service

Instagram has launched IGTV, a separate mobile app where people can watch vertical videos that are up to an hour long.

The new app will feature as part of the traditional Instagram offering, along side the usual posts and stories. But it will also be its own app – and will carry the hopes of the Facebook-owned service.

It will initially feature videos from celebrities including Kim Kardashian West, Selena Gomez and Tyler Blevins, better known as video game live streamer Ninja. And it will also include the strange personalities who have made Instagram their home, such as famous pets.

Normal users will be able to make their own posts as well, sharing them from within Instagram or sitting down for a full viewing session in the devoted IGTV app. No users will be paid for their videos, and there will initially be no ads.

The decision is part of Facebook's broad attempt to finally break into traditional TV programming. The company has spent a considerable amount of money on original shows for Facebook itself – but appeared to recognise that programming is not of interest to young people, many of whom use Instagram rather than Facebook anyway.

"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. "It's time for video to move forward and evolve."

Facebook shares rose 2.3 percent on Wednesday to $202.06 after earlier crossing the $200 mark for the first time.

Instagram, which was founded in 2010 as a photo-sharing app, has surpassed 1 billion users, Systrom said.

Despite beginning life as a photo editing and sharing app, Instagram has quickly grown to include a wide range of video tools. They include video posts and stories, and filters and effects that can be added to moving images.

Other tech firms such as Facebook, Alphabet Inc's YouTube and Snap Inc's Snapchat have been spending heavily to grow mobile video services that will attract both users and corporate brand advertising.

Courting stars to post videos is part of their strategies. Instagram said it has signed up personalities such as Lele Pons, who has 25 million Instagram followers, for IGTV.

Pons said she did not plan to choose sides between two of Silicon Valley's largest companies. "I'm still going to be posting on YouTube as well as on Instagram," she told reporters.

Facebook on Tuesday launched a separate effort to lure video makers away from YouTube, offering ways to make money on the Facebook app. YouTube said it plans to update its commercialization options this week.

Instagram does not immediately plan to share revenue with video creators but may in the future, Systrom said.

The service does not have advertising at launch, but research firm eMarketer said it expects it will have ads eventually, and that marketers in the meantime will sign up stars for endorsement deals.

As social media "influencers" have gained popularity, "I only wonder why it took Instagram so long to roll this out," eMarketer analyst Debra Aho Williamson said.

Instagram, which Facebook bought in 2012 for $1 billion, has grown by adding features like messaging and short videos. In 2016, it added the ability to post slideshows that disappear in 24 hours, a copy of Snapchat's popular "stories" feature.

Additional reporting by agencies

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in