"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. The entertainment hub, titled IGTV, will allow its users to upload videos up to one hour long and will feature content from some of the social media industry's top stars.
"Anyone can be a creator - you can upload your own IGTV videos in the app or on the web to start your own channel", Systrom said.
"That is obviously a very reasonable place to end up", Mr. Systrom said during a news conference.
The move will put Instagram's content in competition with YouTube, which uses programs like YouTube Creators to support its community of video makers. Instagram users can update the app in order to begin watching IGTV videos today.
IGTV won't have ads at launch, but they'll most likely be added later.
Now, with the launch of IGTV, it seems Facebook-owned Instagram may be a more viable strategy, as it ranks as the second most popular social platform among users aged 13 to 17, according to a recent Pew Research survey.
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"That's IGTV", Systrom said.
While Facebook offers no detailed revenue breakdown, the research firm eMarketer estimates Instagram will generate $5.48 billion in net United States ad revenue this year, up 70.4 percent from last year and accounting for more than one-fourth of Facebook's net mobile ad revenue.
IGTV will be available as a standalone app, but you'll also be able to access it and watch videos right from the regular Instagram app.
Rumors have circulated over the past few months suggesting that Instagram was preparing to allow longer videos on its platform. When you open the standalone IGTV app, the videos autoplay, just like on a television.
Videos made for IGTV will all be presented in a vertical format similar to what we've seen from shows on Snapchat.
Instagram says that IGTV is rolling out over the next few weeks. Tents housing some of the city's 7,500 homeless individuals were dwarfed outside by trailers ostensibly set up for the creators who danced and vogued for a short live video to kick off the event. And as we are dealing with a video focused service, the 1 minute limit that we are accustomed to on Instagram has been extended to 1 hour for IGTV.