Instagram expands into long videos to compete with YouTube

On Wednesday, the Facebook-owned social media app launched a new long-form video app called IGTV, allowing users to upload videos as short as 15 seconds or as long as 60 minutes.

As previously expected, today Instagram has officially announced its new long-form video effort, IGTV.

"It truly wouldnt have happened without all of you", CEO Kevin Systrom said of hitting the one-billion-user-mark.

Many a company has tried and failed to compete with YouTube, but Instagram has some things going for it, including a billion users-a new milestone that Systrom announced at the event-and plenty of creators already making a living on the service through monetization strategies such as sponsorships. You'll be able to pop from regular Instagram to IGTV with the press of a button on the app's homescreen, and IGTV will retain a lot of the look and feel of traditional Instagram.

When users open the app, IGTV starts playing immediately. Snapchat, Instagram's main competitor, said in February it has 100 million monthly active users. People wanting to watch a one hour video on their TV, for instance, won't enjoy wasted screen real estate and black bars. As with Snapchat's Discover hub, IGTV videos will be vertical and will be separated across multiple channels, which can be browsed individually or happened upon via a smattering of content discovery tools.

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He added that IGTV is "built for how you actually use your phone, so videos are full screen and vertical".

This means you can use the IGTV service without either alienating an IG-centric audience or being alienated yourself. It's not available this minute, and you'll be able to consume IGTV from within Instagram, but if you want only IGTV content, it's coming. With that said, I also enjoy watching content on Twitch. Though IGTV will not have ads at launch, Systrom said it's a likely place for them to "end up", both for the company's and creators' bottom lines. When you follow a creator on Instagram, their IGTV channel will show up for you to watch. Facebook's Instagram app is loosening its restraints on video with a new channel that will attempt to lure younger viewers away from Google's YouTube and pave the way to sell more advertising. Instagram reportedly is responsible for 28.2% of Facebook's mobile ad revenue.

From there, users can swipe up in the app to find more content and can select from a series of tabs, including "For You, ' 'Following, ' 'Popular" and 'Continue Watching'.

Begun, the online video wars have.

Curated: IGTV is focused on the creators you love most and already follow on Instagram.

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