Instagram Debuts IGTV App for Long-Form Vertical Video


As vertical video becomes more and more prevalent, publishers are looking to make more content to meet that demand. And with over 1 Billion users, Instagram is making a play for this content with the release yesterday of a new long-form vertical video app called IGTV.

IGTV is a stand-alone app that connects to your account and is full-screen, long-form, vertical video only. I was playing around with it this morning and there already seems to be lots of content available. You login with your Instagram account, but if you want to create videos you need to create a separate IGTV channel, and just like Instagram, you can connect any personal or business accounts you may manage.


Author’s iPhone

From Instagram’s announcement:

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’ve 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.

IGTV is clearly positioning itself as YouTube but for vertical video. And even with a somewhat botched rollout (the livestream started late and was glitchy), Instagram is clearly expecting IGTV to be huge. And while there are no ads right now, we can be pretty confident that eventually there will be, with Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom saying that it would be “a reasonable place to end up.”

Playing around with the app this morning, it’s not hard to use and there’s already a good bit of content available, including sports, entertainment, and a bunch of niche programming from various former Vine celebrities. You can browse and search by swiping up, and you can also swipe left to see the next video (and you can swipe right to go back to the previous video). It appears that if you’re already following an account on Instagram, you’ll also see their IGTV videos. You can get to IGTV from Instagram by clicking on the little icon in the upper right. To get back to your Instagram feed, just swipe down from a full-screen video that’s playing.

Author’s iPhone

IGTV will be worth watching, both as a channel worth creating content for and as a potential source for paid advertising. Especially if a good portion of Instagram’s 1 billion users adopts the platform enthusiastically. Especially as publishers are looking away from Snapchat Discover, IGTV may be just what they’re looking for.

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John is a writer with an interest in healthcare and SEO. In his spare time, he enjoys basketball and memes and spending time with his family.

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