Instagram launches IGTV with YouTube in its sights

Kevin Systrom launches IGTV.

gaming editor

Media juggernaut Instagram conquered the social media space after being acquired by Facebook in 2012. Now Instagram is setting its sights on challenging YouTube’s bread and butter – video.

Instagram today launched IGTV, a new service that focuses on long-form videos made by creators. The new service will be available through a new app  as well as an existing tab on the Instagram app through an update.

As a mobile-first application, IGTV’s video content will be vertically oriented to be suitable for mobile devices.  

Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom told an industry event in San Francisco that video content wasn’t “formatted” correctly for the mobile generation.

“The tools we watch video on are old and out of date … think about it — we still watch videos formatted for TV, on a vertical screen.”

IGTV will allow top tier Instagram creators to make up to 60-minute videos while general users will get up to 10 minutes. Previously, Instagram users were only able to make 90-second videos.

Instagram has one billion active users on a daily basis. It’s is hoping to compete with YouTube by teaming up with some of the services biggest creators. Kim Kardashian (113 million followers) and YouTube stars such as Marques Brownlee (1.4 million) are planning to produce content for the service.

YouTube is the king of video content and a creator’s main choice in this area. IGTV will find it difficult to compete with service which has over 1.8 billion users and has existed on the web for far longer.

YouTube offers a monetisation program which has attracted many creators to stay on the platform indefinitely. However, YouTube has been plagued with multiple issues relating to it’s monetisation services.

Instagram didn’t mention any plans to monetise the content on IGTV, however such a program is likely if Instagram plans to compete with YouTube in any substantial capacity.

YouTube has had multiple competitors in the past with services such as Periscope, Vine and Vimeo. However, none have been able compete with the Google-owned company in any major way.

Instagram may have the best chance at competing with YouTube with its loyal billion-plus users, its many creators and it highly successful advertising model. 

The IGTV app is available to download on the Apple and Google Play Store.