Instagram’s going to transform once again.
After copying Snapchat Stories with its own Instagram Stories, Instagram is now preparing to introduce live video, joining the likes of Facebook Live, Twitter’s Periscope and YouTube Live, according to a recent interview Kevin Systrom, CEO of Instagram, gave to the Financial Times.
Last month, the Russian website T Journal published screenshots and a short video of what appeared to be a live video feature Instagram was secretly testing.
Instagram declined to comment on the feature. The company frequently tests new features with small groups of users; the tests, however, aren’t confirmation that they’ll ever become official (some never get released to everyone).
But live videos are definitely coming.
Systrom confirmed the company is planning to bring live video to its massive 500 million-plus monthly active users.
“Live is really exciting for us. I think it can enhance what we’re doing,” Systrom told the Financial Times. “If I’m trying to strengthen relationships with someone I love, them streaming video to me live would be an amazing way to be closer to them.”
The FT’s report didn’t mention when live videos will be rolling out to Instagram. Our guess is soon if Systrom is OK with talking about it publicly.
Introducing live videos will further bolster Instagram as the place to create and share videos. With more than 100 million daily users viewing Instagram Stories since the feature launched this summer, there is a tremendous opportunity to leverage these eyeballs as they shun traditional video TV broadcasts for live content that’s more personable and “authentic.”
“If you’re the CEO of a company and all of a sudden 100m people are using a new format every single day, it’s not something you ignore. You push investment into it,” Systrom told FT.
One thing that will be interesting to watch is how Instagram’s live videos will affect Facebook Live. The two will, no doubt, be able to co-exist, and Facebook, which owns Instagram, will reap benefits from both platforms, but which one will the people choose?
Whatever happens, start getting ready to “Go Insta.”