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article imageLive video is coming to Instagram

By James Walker     Nov 11, 2016 in Technology
Instagram's CEO has confirmed in an interview that the Facebook-owned company is working on adding live video streaming to its platform. Live video is already a popular feature on Facebook. Instagram will now follow its parent into the space.
Live video is an increasingly crowded market that is becoming progressively more popular with consumers. Industry leading platforms including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Snapchat already offer support for real time video streaming, allowing users to broadcast their life to followers, friends and family. Live video can increase platform engagement and is a key investment for social media firms.
Facebook is already known to be betting big on video as the core of its future. Last week, CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the company is focusing on video "across our family of apps," hinting at what many analysts had already expected. Today, Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom confirmed to the Financial Times that live video will be available on Instagram in the coming months. He said the company views it as a way for users to get closer to other individuals using the app.
"Live is really exciting for us," said Systrom. "I think it can enhance what we're doing. If I'm trying to strengthen relationships with someone I love, then streaming video to me live would be an amazing way to be closer to them."
Systrom hasn't revealed how the feature will integrate with the rest of Instagram or when it will be ready to launch. It can be assumed it will operate in a similar fashion to Facebook Live though, offering a simple interface that lets users start streaming as quickly as possible. Leaked screenshots of the updated app published by Russian news site T Journal previously revealed livestreams will be presented to users in Instagram's existing Stories carousel.
Instagram Stories
Instagram Stories
Instagram
Yesterday, Instagram launched a new update that expands on Stories. The Snapchat rival now supports Boomerang videos that loop forward and backwards, expanding on Instagram's new aim to be a social platform by offering fun and distinctive content. The company also announced support for mentioning other users in story posts and embedding "see more" links to external sources. The latter is currently in testing with select verified accounts.
Instagram is aggressively pushing to become a social media app in its own right. After gaining a reputation for being a photo sharing service, in recent months the company has demonstrated it's keen to evolve into an accessible social experience. While the move has annoyed some users who preferred its original concept, Instagram's app overhaul earlier this year and subsequent introduction of Stories has demonstrated it's committed to its new path. Stories reached 100m people just two months after launch.
"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 commented to the Financial Times. "Our mission is not to be a camera app, it's not to just take pretty photos."
Part of Instagram's motivation for adding livestreaming to its platform is likely to be the success of its parent company. Facebook sees around six times more engagement with live video compared to pre-recorded video, a metric that is continuing to increase. With Google-owned YouTube and key rival Snapchat also seeing high engagement, now's the time for Instagram to enter the rapidly growing live video market.
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