Instagram Presses Play on New Vertical Video Platform

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In a clear attempt to go head-to-head with both old-school TV and other social media broadcast platforms, Instagram today launched IGTV, an app designed to broadcast long-form user-generated content (UGC) vertical video from popular Instagram creators. IGTV is the social media company's latest attempt to deliver mobile-first full-screen vertical video. 

"Teens are now watching 40% less TV than they did five years ago," said Instagram co-founder and CEO Kevin Systrom at a press conference earlier today in San Francisco. "On Instagram people are watching 60% more video in just the last year."

The seven-year old company has a global community of one billion monthly actives, according to Systrom. "An entirely new category of video now exists, and it's being made by creators," Systrom said. "Combined, these creators reach hundreds of millions of followers, and that makes Instagram one of the largest and most engaged audience anywhere in the world." Users can view IGTV content from either the standalone IGTV app or within the Instagram app.

IGTV has eliminated the existing one-minute video length; broadcasters can now deliver videos up to one hour in length. Anyone who uses Instagram is able to create their own channel. VOD video now autoplays on start, based on a personalized curated experience for viewers. 

“IGTV has channels,” Systrom wrote in a blog post. “But, in IGTV, the creators are the channels. When you follow a creator on Instagram, their IGTV channel will show up for you to watch. Anyone can be a creator—you can upload your own IGTV videos in the app or on the web to start your own channel.”

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