By Madison Alworth
Instagram launched its new long-form video content platform on Wednesday, a bid to take on YouTube and Snapchat and introduce a kind of viral element that made the now-defunct Vine so popular.
"It's mobile first. It's simple, and it's quality," said CEO Kevin Systrom at the press event introducing the new feature, dubbed IGTV.
Cheddar's Alex Heath, who was at the launch, said the new app targets a very specific audience.
"This is Instagram's teen plan," he said. "If I were to summarize the announcement, it would be all caps: TEENS."
The opportunity for growth is significant. While Instagram unveiled at the event that it broke the 1 billion monthly active user mark, a recent PEW study found that just 71% of those aged 18 to 24 use Instagram, compared to 94 percent on YouTube.
The Facebook-owned company hopes creating a platform with the same kind of premium video content will help close that gap. While anyone can publish to the platform, Instagram is also courting internet celebrities with big teen followings to create content. It's already brought on the likes of Fortnite champion Tyler "Ninja" Blevins, Selena Gomez, and Kim Kardashian.
IGTV will exist both within the Instagram app and as a standalone product and can host vertical videos up to 60 minutes in length.
And while there are no current plans to monetize that content, Roger Cheng, executive editor at CNET, said that the longer format will be much more attractive to advertisers than Instagram's previous offerings, which were too short and incompatible for things like pre-roll ads.
"You imagine that ads will start seeping into this service," Cheng said in an interview with Cheddar. "You can't monetize [the previous] business. So that's why you see Instagram investing into that long-form content, because that is where ad dollars are going."
For the full interview, click here.