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Instagram celebrates its 1 billion user mark with launch of YouTube rival IGTV


By Bennett Bennett, Staff writer

June 20, 2018 | 3 min read

Instagram today marked reaching one billion users with the launch of a recently rumored long-form video service called IGTV.

IGTV Announcement

Instagram commemorated its billion-user mark with the announcement of IGTV, a play at longform content. / Instagram

Users can access IGTV via the original Instagram app, but also through a standalone app starting next week. Content on IGTV has a time-limit of an hour, and during a conference on Instagram Live, the Facebook-owned platform has already piloted the new service with influencers and creators.

Another unique feature of this app: it has been formatted so that all videos play vertically. Instagram co-founder and chief executive Kevin Systrom said in a statement on the Instagram blog: “We’ve made it simple, too. Just like turning on the TV, IGTV starts playing as soon as you open the app. You don’t have to search to start watching content from people you already follow on Instagram and others you might like based on your interests.”

“Instagram has always been a place to connect with the people who inspire, educate and entertain you every day. With your help, IGTV begins a new chapter of video on Instagram. We hope it brings you closer to the people and things you love.”

Reaction has started to pool in post-IGTV announcement. Todd Kriezelman, co-founder and chief executive of MediaRadar pointed out YouTube ad spend flattening as of late, saying: Across a sample of 70 top YouTube channel pages, advertising spend has been flat in 2018, with only an 0.2% increase YTD."

"Marketers and publishers alike both want to tap into YouTube’s exploding audience (nearly 1.6 billion watch YouTube content at least once a month right now). But for this to be a go-to platform, there’s work to be done.”

Instagram will hope the service can draw younger users from rival Snapchat in light of that platform’s recent challenges in the public eye, between its teardown by Rihanna (via Instagram) over an approved ad promoting domestic violence and its widely-panned algorithm updates.

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