Instagram Launches IGTV, a New App for Watching Long-Form Vertical Video

IGTV will enable any user to upload long-form videos and will also include "channels" from video "creators", similar to a format employed by Google-owned YouTube.

"We have now a community of one billion users", Systrom told the event in San Francisco.

Systrom also revealed on Wednesday that Instagram now has 1 billion monthly active users - up from 800 million users last September. Instagram users can update the app in order to begin watching IGTV videos today. Videos published there will eventually be up to 60 minutes long, compared to the current limit of 60 seconds.

Like traditional television, videos will start playing at fullscreen as soon as you open the app, and you can swipe through a variety of videos such as personal recommendations, popular videos, and videos from people you've subscribed to. With this news, all four of Facebook's key services-the main Facebook app, its two chat apps Messenger and WhatsApp, and Instagram-each have a billion or more users.

There will be a standalone IGTV app, as well as an IGTV experience built into the Instagram app, where it can be accessed via a dedicated section. Instagram hasn't talked about the possibility of turning off video autoplay when launching the service, but it's likely that it will be a requested feature.

He added that IGTV is "built for how you actually use your phone, so videos are full screen and vertical". Instead, everyone on the platform will be able to make use of IGTV to view and make vertical videos. This is a major accomplishment - so from all of us at Instagram, thank you!

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"Right now we're focused on building engagement, and there are no ads on IGTV from Day One", Systrom said.

As you watch, you can like videos, leave a comment, and follow others.

This new feature will put Instagram in direct competition with YouTube and will no doubt help the social app to lure over all those original content creators.

Snapchat in 2015 launched Snapchat Discover, a feature that allows publishers including National Geographic, Vice and Cosmopolitan to upload daily multimedia "stories".

Many expect Instagram to run ads alongside the videos, allowing creators to earn revenue from their content. Enter Instagram, acquired by Facebook in 2012, which has always been the more visual platform and is traditionally more successful at courting young users. In a kind of TV and YouTube hybrid, the app will be organized by channels, which will just lead you to each creator's page.

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