Instagram has launched IGTV, the company’s new standalone app and home to long-form vertical videos from users’ favorite creators. IGTV is now available on Android and iOS devices, and is intended to be Instagram’s way to compete directly with YouTube.

“IGTV, a new app for watching long-form, vertical video from your favorite Instagram creators, like LaurDIY posting her newest project or King Bach sharing his latest comedy skit,” Instagram co-founder and CEO Kevin Systrom said. “While there’s a stand-alone IGTV app, you’ll also be able to watch from within the Instagram app so the entire community of one billion can use it from the very start.”

Unlike Youtube, IGTV content is built specifically for watching videos on smartphones. This is also why videos on IGTV are all vertical and shown in full screen. Videos published on IGTV can also be an hour long, instead of just one minute.

When users first open the IGTV app, users will be able to sign in using their existing Instagram account. When that’s finished, the app will immediately start playing videos from creators that the user is already following on Instagram. The IGTV app’s user interface is fairly simple. While a video is playing, there are four tabs present: For You, Following, Popular and Continue Watching. Opening each tab will show the users videos corresponding to that category. For example, when a user opens the Popular tab, it will show the user the most popular videos on IGTV with a scrollable carousel.

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The IGTV app will let users start watching videos from their favorite creators immediately. Instagram

To watch an IGTV video in full screen, users can simply swipe down to hide the tabs. When watching a video, users will be able to like, comment and send the video to a friend through Instagram’s Direct messaging. Users can swipe left to start playing the next video in the queue. Swiping up on a video will bring up the tabs once again. Users will also be able to search for content creators on IGTV.

“Also like TV, IGTV has channels. But, in IGTV, the creators are the channels. When you follow a creator on Instagram, their IGTV channel will show up for you to watch. Anyone can be a creator — you can upload your own IGTV videos in the app or on the web to start your own channel,” Systrom said.

People will be able to upload vertical videos through Instagram’s app or on the web. New users or accounts that may have a smaller following won’t be able to upload hour-long videos immediately. However, that will change at some point in the future, according to TechCrunch.

IGTV doesn’t have any advertisements, but Systrom said that would be “a reasonable place to end up.” The Instagram CEO said that there will be a revenue-sharing deal with partners at some point, but not right now, as reported by The Verge. This does make a lot of sense considering that IGTV’s format is perfect for placing ads. Creators are also investing a lot of time and effort in making content for IGTV, so it does seem fair that Instagram would find a way to let them monetize their content. Instagram is not paying any of the creators to upload videos on IGTV.

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Instagram co-founder and CEO Kevin Systrom announces IGTV, the company's new hub for long-form vertical videos. Instagram
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