After a report surfaced indicating the company was planning today’s announcement, Instagram has unveiled its new IGTV app, a dedicated place where creators can share long-form videos shot in a vertical format. The company is clearly taking direct aim at competitors like YouTube by offering a more mobile-friendly experience and focusing on the way you find and watch content on your phone.
For starters, as I previously mentioned, all videos on IGTV are shot vertically so you don’t need to alter the way you’re holding your phone. Once you open the app, video immediately starts playing just like on a TV. This is to make actually enjoying content a lot less of a chore since you don’t have to search for it in advance. Videos can even last as long as a full hour opposed to the traditional 60-second format on the main Instagram app.
Within the new app, you’ll find tabs labeled “For You,” Following,” Popular,” and “Continue Watching” at the bottom of your screen that let you search for additional content from people you follow. Instagram is calling a user’s profile on IGTV a channel which, clearly, is a direct hit at youTube. Of course, you’ll also be able to like, comment on, and send videos to your friends.
All of this is a part of Facebook’s push for better content consuming platforms. The company made little disturbance with its own video tab inside the main Facebook experience so it obviously hopes to have better luck with Instagram. I would bet that IGTV is more popular than Facebook’s alternative since Instagram is used by more younger people who, admittedly, spend more time on their smartphones.
Instagram is also likely taking shots at Snapchat in this case as well. Snap Inc. introduced its own lineup of original programming shot vertically not too long ago from content outlets like MTV and NBC. and if you’ve ever watched any of it, you know it’s pretty much all garbage. Hopefully, IGTV doesn’t meet the same fate.
Instagram hasn’t specified when IGTV will launch but we expect it to be soon. The app will be free to download from the Play Store and App Store, while a new tab in the main Instagram app will give users a shortcut to it once its live for ease of access.
Update 6-20-2018: Instagram has officially launched IGTV on both iOS and Android. You can download it now from the App Store and Play Store for free.