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Instagram launches longform video

Facebook-owned social media service Instagram has launched a new video service that allows creators to upload longform shows.

Kevin Systrom

The launch of IGTV, widely seen a direct challenge to YouTube, will house videos of up to 60 minutes in length, created by both users and celebrities.

IGTV will be accessible from within the Instagram app, while a separate standalone app is also being launched that will spotlight selected videos.

Kevin Systrom, Instagram’s CEO, said at an event to launch the app that it was “time for video to move forward and evolve.”

IGTV will enable creators to develop Instagram Channels, which will house their videos and allow viewers to subscribe to them.

The service is not advertising-supported but Systrom admitted it was likely in the future, enabling creatives to monetise the service. Instagram has around one billion users around the world.

Instagram has been expanding its video offering over recent months, agreeing deals with networks such as Comedy Central’s international service to produce programming for it.

Broadcasters including Finland’s YLE have also experimented with producing for the site, launching youth-skewing web drama series Karma last year. A second season is now in the works.

Shows from Instagram have also been sold to other services, such as shortform puppet series Blark & Son moving to Verizon’s mobile service Go90.

Instagram owner Facebook launched its own video service, Watch, last year, offering a raft of scripted and unscripted programming.

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