Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom
(Credit: Instagram)

TL;DR

  • Instagram's new IGTV app will let creators make longer videos
  • You can still view IGTV content within the regular Instagram app
  • The videos will be user-generated and up to one hour long

Instagram has announced the launch of a separate video app called IGTV, which will host long-form vertical video content from popular Instagram creators such as LaurDIY and King Bach. The content will also be viewable in the traditional Instagram app, which the company said now reaches an audience of one billion users around the world. The IGTV app is not launching today, but the company says it will be "rolling out globally over the next few weeks."

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At the launch event, Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom did not indicate that premium original content would be part of the picture. Instead, the company will be leveraging its community of users, many of whom are celebrities in their own right, with millions of followers. However, he adds, "Anyone can be a creator -- you can upload your own IGTV videos in the app or on the web to start your own channel."

We asked Instagram how IGTV is being monetized and if Instagram's celebrity creators are being compensated, and a spokesperson told us, "Ads will not be part of IGTV at launch, but we'll be exploring and testing ways to help creators monetize after launch. We don't have more details to share now, but we will as they develop. Creators are a source of inspiration and identity for young people, so we're excited for even more of them to emerge with IGTV. We are committed to helping them build their careers and make a living doing this work."

(Credit: Instagram)

Where does Facebook Watch fit into this?

Facebook, which launched its own video platform initiative nearly a year ago, purchased Instagram in 2012 for $1 billion, and it counts over 2 billion monthly active users of its own. However, its Facebook Watch platform consists largely of premium original content. (Disclosure: Our parent company CBS Interactive is a Facebook Watch content partner.) While Facebook has historically championed user-generated content, it appears to be letting its partner Instagram take the lead on that front.

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The takeaways

  1. Given the millions that some IG users can reach, a robust video platform may have a transformative effect for both them and the app itself. Previously, Instagram's video content consisted only of short lo-fi clips, which was perfectly suited to the app's rapid flow of posts. This will change the experience.
  2. It will be interesting to see if the Instagram community can be persuaded into accommodating videos that are longer and produced professionally.

Note: This article has been updated with a response from an Instagram representative.

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Tom is the senior editor covering Windows at Download.com.