instagram video igtv kevin systrom

SAN FRANCISCO — Photo-sharing social network Instagram is upping its video game, revealing IGTV, its new content hub for longer Insta vids, at an event here Wednesday.

IGTV will be available in the mobile app’s Explore section, as well as in a coming stand-alone app, and feature vertical — or portrait-oriented — videos that exceed the previous limit of 60 seconds. By just how long depends on the individual account and its following. Anyone can upload vids of up to 10 minutes to IGTV, but only influencers with 10,000 followers or more can max out the full limit of 60 minutes.

For those top-tier influencers, like those in beauty, fashion and lifestyle, the roomier allotment means more comprehensive tutorials, product reviews or other experiences. Meanwhile, quality up to 4K resolution allows for detailed makeovers and other more granular visuals, laying bare every pore, every glossy or matte finish or even the bristles on their favorite kabuki brushes.

“Everything’s made for how you naturally hold your phone,” said Instagram product manager Ashley Yuki. “It’s mobile first, superintuitive to use, and we bring the high-quality content to you from the creators you already know.”

Comparisons to Snapchat’s Discover videos may be tempting, but IGTV looks more like an attack aimed by parent-company Facebook toward Google and, more specifically, its video powerhouse YouTube. The longer format and focus on influencers and other content creators, as opposed to media companies, looks like an overt move to take on the Google video platform on in its own turf — and at a moment when it appears to be focusing more on its live TV streaming and content distribution deals for shows, movies and music.

Indeed, Instagram is targeting influencers and celebrities specifically, invoking names like Selena Gomez, Kim Kardashian and Virgil Abloh as early IGTV adopters. The company needs such personalities to ensure a healthy influx of desirable content.

If anyone stands a chance of taking on YouTube’s video dominance, it’s probably Instagram: Chief executive officer and Instagram founder Kevin Systrom said his company hit a new benchmark, gushing, “We are now a global community of a billion monthly actives!” In September, the company reached 800 million.

That should lead to an awful lot of videos. And if Instagram keeps its growth trajectory intact, this might be just the beginning.

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