SAN FRANCISCO: Instagram, the Facebook-owned photo and video-sharing platform, has launched a new feature that allows users to create content of up to an hour in duration.

In a move widely seen as a bid to entice younger viewers away from YouTube, Instagram co-founder and CEO Kevin Systrom announced in a blog post that its new IGTV feature marks a “new chapter” of video on Instagram.

IGTV comes as a standalone app, he explained, although it is also accessible via the Instagram homepage, and it will allow users to upload videos of more than one minute to up to one hour.

In addition, he said that the videos are optimised to be run vertically and full screen because that is how most people use their mobile devices.

“We’ve made it simple, too,” he added. “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.”

And speaking later at a launch event in San Francisco, TechCrunch reported him saying that, while ads will not run in IGTV for now, the platform is “obviously a very reasonable place [for ads] to end up”.

Since creators are investing a lot of time into IGTV videos, Systrom said he aims to make that sustainable by offering them a way to monetise in the future.

Instagram, which Facebook acquired for $1bn in March 2012, also revealed that it now has one billion monthly active users, up from the 800 million that it last reported in September 2017.

And while marketers will pay attention to Instagram’s growing user base, they will be at least as interested in who these users are.

For example, a recent and comprehensive study by the Pew Research Center revealed that 72% of American teenagers aged 13 to 17 now use Instagram.

Pew’s Teens, Social Media & Technology 2018 report found that is second only to YouTube at 85%, while Facebook is used by just half (51%) of this age group – down from 71% in a previous Pew survey in 2014-15.

Sourced from Instagram, TechCrunch; additional content by WARC staff