Instagram Launches IGTV, The New Long-Form Video App That Could Take Down YouTube

What do you think about this new feature?

Yesterday marked a huge day for Instagram, and possibly the beginning of the demise of YouTube. At an entertaining launch event in San Francisco, which began with a choreographed performance starring some of Instagram’s biggest names, those behind the app announced IGTV.

What’s IGTV? Instagram’s CEO Kevin Systrom explained at the event that it’s a new app for watching long-form, full-screen, vertical video, laid out on the platform to match up with, “how you actually use your phone.” You can catch a glimpse in this promotional video they uploaded to Instagram:

From our CEO @kevin: “Today, we have two big announcements to share. First, Instagram is now a global community of one billion! Since our launch in 2010, we’ve watched with amazement as the community has flourished and grown. This is a major accomplishment — so from all of us at Instagram, thank you! Second, we’re announcing our most exciting feature to date: IGTV, a new app for watching long-form, vertical video from your favorite Instagram creators, like LaurDIY (@laurdiy) posting her newest project or King Bach (@kingbach) sharing his latest comedy skit. 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. IGTV is different in a few ways. First, it’s built for how you actually use your phone, so videos are full screen and vertical. Also, unlike on Instagram, videos aren’t limited to one minute. Instead, each video can be up to an hour long. We made it simple, too. Just like turning on the TV, IGTV starts playing as soon as you open the app. You don’t have to search to start watching content from people you already follow on Instagram and others you might like based on your interests. You can swipe up to discover more — switch between “For You,” “Following,” “Popular” and “Continue Watching.” You can also like, comment and send videos to friends in Direct. Also like TV, IGTV has channels. But, in IGTV, the creators are the channels. When you follow a creator on Instagram, their IGTV channel will show up for you to watch. Anyone can be a creator — you can upload your own IGTV videos in the app or on the web to start your own channel. Instagram has always been a place to connect with the people who inspire, educate and entertain you every day. With your help, IGTV begins a new chapter of video on Instagram. We hope it brings you closer to the people and things you love. IGTV will be rolling out globally over the next few weeks on iOS and Android.

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So what makes a video long-form? While Instagram Stories are limited to just 15 seconds, with videos in the main feed extending to just over a minute, videos on IGTV can be up to ten minutes, while bigger accounts can post content that lasts up to an hour.

This means you can view everything from comedy skits to DIY projects to music videos to vlogs from your favorite Instagram creators. Some popular Instagrammers will even be creating series for the platform, though according to The Verge, they will not be paid by Instagram.

Driving this launch is the idea that more people now spend time watching content on their phones rather than on their television sets. In fact, this shift has been so extreme that mobile video will account for 78 percent of total mobile data traffic by 2121.

“Video on mobile is clunky or unnatural… it’s time for video to move forward and evolve,” said Systrom during the launch event.

While the IGTV app is a standalone app, separate from your Instagram app, its design mirrors the ease of Instagram itself. In the app, viewers can easily navigate through the tabs “for you,” “following” and “popular.” Users also have the option of continuing to watch previously started videos.

At the same time, if you’re reluctant to download yet another app — at least at first — you can still watch IGTV-generated videos from within the original Instagram app.


While YouTube is still the main place to go for high-quality video content online, that might change depending on how successful IGTV is at redirecting people’s attention to their own creators and original series content.

Another interesting thing to note? Anyone can be a creator with IGTV by uploading a vertical video through the app or web. It’s that easy.

Are you excited about this new feature and app?