Instagram unveils video service IGTV to rival YouTube

Instagram declares war on YouTube with 'IGTV' video hub

Can't connect right now! Creators take their followers from Instagram to their new IGTV channels.

Instagram at a flashy media event in San Francisco on Wednesday unveiled IGTV, a standalone app designed for long-format video consumption. "We are re-envisioning mobile video with a new standalone surface that features longer videos and easy discoverability through channels, all in a vertical format that sits upright, in the palm of your hand".

Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom at the event, said: "It's time for video to move forward, and evolve".

Instagram also announced that it now has a billion monthly active users, up from 800 million in September.

Up until now, video uploads were limited to just one minute on Instagram, but IGTV extends that limit to an hour. The difference between Instagram and IGTV, however, is that the latter pushes vertical videos only and can last up to an hour. Users also will have the privilege of receiving notifications from creators they are interested in.

According to the research firm eMarketer, 181.7 million Americans will watch video content on their smartphones at least once a month this year, up 6.1 percent from a year ago. IGTV will start rolling globally over the next few weeks on Android and iOS.

Systrom described the new app as "a separate space, a dedicated space to enjoy video without being distracted".

Facebook, the company, wants to keep giving people reasons to use its properties while finding more ways to serve advertisers.

While Facebook offers no detailed revenue breakdown, eMarketer estimates Instagram will generate $5.48 billion in net United States ad revenue this year, up 70.4 percent from last year and accounting for more than one-fourth of Facebook´s net mobile ad revenue.

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