Nothing has been officially announced just yet, but sources suggest the Facebook-owned network is developing functionality that will enable it to publish scripted shows, music videos and other types of long-form content. Videos would be vertically oriented, full-screen, high-def 4K resolution.
According to TechCrunch, the move isn’t designed to take Instagram into the broadcasting space occupied by the likes of Netflix. Rather they will target the kind of content more traditionally seen on the Google-owned YouTube – currently the undisputed king of video streaming.
Instagram has reportedly been in discussions with leading social media celebrities and influencers to discover ways of integrating their existing video channels into their Instagram profiles.
The intention is to eventually allow creators and publishers to generate revenue from their long-form videos, though the details of how exactly those ads would be displayed isn’t yet clear.
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The new video section will spotlight a collection of popular videos, while also featuring a Continue Watching option to enable users to watch long clips over the course of several sessions.
Users will also see the long-form clips featured on authors’ profiles near the Stories Highlights bubbles. Creators won’t be able to shoot and post long-form videos, as the section will only allow pre-made video uploads.
The development is a clear effort to tap into YouTube’s share of ad revenues – which is projected to hit $3.96 billion this year, up from $2.24 billion in 2015.
It also shares similarities with Snapchat’s Discover section, which offers exclusive, professionally produced vertical videos from an array of publishers as an alternative to user-generated Stories that are dubious in quality.
Facebook Watch is widely considered to have flunked in its bid to steal traffic and revenue from other streaming services, so all eyes will be on Instagram’s feature when it launches on 20 June (that’s a tentative launch date).