Instagram is officially diving into long-form video.
The new video hub, called IGTV, will host vertical videos as long as 60 minutes. That makes the platform more suited to mobile use than YouTube.
“It’s mobile first. It’s simple and it’s quality. That’s IGTV,” CEO Kevin Systrom said.
Instagram announced the new video hub with the help of creators and social media stars — teasing new creator shows to be launched on IGTV. Videos will be curated into channels, similar to Snapchat’s discover feature. Any user can upload videos.
IGTV will be ad-free for now as Instagram focuses on engagement, but Systrom said ads are a possibility in the future.
Systrom also said Instagram now has 1 billion monthly active users. That’s from the 800 million reported in September.
Instagram said IGTV will be available as a standalone app as well as its flagship app. Users can now update their Instagram apps and start watching long form content. Instagram said the standalone IGTV app will roll out in the next few weeks on Android and iOS.
The Facebook-owned photo-sharing app has previously dealt in still images and videos of up to 60 seconds. CNBC earlier reported Instagram was planning to roll out a longer video format in a challenge to Alphabet‘s YouTube and its established social media influencer community.
The new feature could keep users in the app longer and help Instagram capture coveted advertising dollars. Competition for eyes and ads keeps heating up as Alphabet, Snap, Twitter and Facebook’s core platform all ratchet up original and curated content.
— CNBC’s Paayal Zaveri and Christine Wang contributed to this report.
Instagram crosses 1 billion monthly active users, unveils long-form video