Two years after the launch of Instagram Stories, the popular social media app is releasing another pivotal feature that will alter how users share videos on the platform. After previously limiting clips to 60 seconds, Instagram announced that it is shifting its focus towards housing longer videos up to an hour in length on its IGTV hub. So, when is IGTV available? You could have it on your phone as early as June 20, and this is going to be a game-changer for mobile video.
During a San Francisco press conference aired on Instagram Live on Wednesday, June 20, the image-sharing giant announced that it will be going head to head with video-sharing apps with a new mobile IGTV video feature. Starting on June 20 and rolling out through the next few weeks, iOS and Android users will be able to gain access to the IGTV hub by tapping a special button on Instagram's home screen, according to a press release. Once there, users can watch vertical videos from their favorite accounts on the mobile-friendly platform, and even upload some of their own.
To access even more cool features, users can swipe up to access the "Browse" page where video content is organized into different sections and you can interact with the clips just like you do on your regular Instagram feed. You can choose to explore videos that are trending on Instagram, personalized video recommendations, or video content from the people you are following. See an eye-catching video? You can easily DM the post to any of your friends, or like and comment on the clip from the tab. Since videos can now be up to an hour in length, you can also pop back into the Browse section to resume any video right where you left off.
That's not all. Like YouTube, Instagram will also allow its users to create their own "Channels," per the press release. Channels will house a collection of your different videos, and your followers can subscribe to them.
With all the cool updates, you'll definitely want to check out the IGTV update on your phone ASAP. That being said, don't freak out if you don't see the button yet. While the update has a June 20 release date, the feature is being rolled out to everyone over the next few weeks. IGTV will eventually be available to all of Instagram's members (the company revealed that there are now 1 billion users in its community, so the possibilities for cool videos are endless). Plus, it will have its own app where, "Just like turning on the TV, IGTV starts playing as soon as you open the app."
The announcement confirms a June 5 report from The Wall Street Journal, which first claimed that Instagram was in talks to launch longer video capabilities within the app. While the photo-sharing platform originally made its mark in 2010 with the ability to post your favorite images overlaid with all sorts of cool filters, things have been changing since the company was acquired by Facebook in 2012. Instagram has definitely been taking notes from Facebook and Snapchat when it comes to video, and users looking for more candid, in-the-moment visuals have been responding well to Instagram Stories. According to the report, Instagram said that there are 300 million daily Instagram Stories users, and that it's one of the app's most popular features. That's huge, so it makes sense that Instagram would be looking to piggyback on this success with even more video options for users.
The one catch I see is with Instagram's recently-announced plans to track how much time you spend on the platform with "Usage Insights." Does anyone really want to know how much time they spend watching videos, especially now that one clip can be up to an hour long? Not really.