Instagram, which allows users to post photos and brief glimpses of their lives through short videos, is getting ready to go long.
The Facebook Inc. FB -0.18% -owned photo and video sharing app is preparing to launch a new feature that will include long-form video, according to people familiar with the matter. The feature, which could allow videos of up to an hour in length, will focus on vertical video, or video that is taller than it is wide, one of the people said. Until now, Instagram hasn’t allowed users to post any videos longer than one minute.
The people said the plans are tentative and subject to change.
In recent weeks, Instagram has had conversations with content creators and publishers about producing long-form video for the platform, a person familiar with the matter said. The feature, if it launches, will do so within the Instagram app, another person said.
The audience for original digital video, defined by the Interactive Advertising Bureau as ad-supported, professionally produced and distributed digitally, has grown substantially in recent years. An IAB report estimated earlier this year that the audience among U.S. adults has expanded from 45 million in 2013 to 72 million in 2018, or by 60%.
Instagram was founded in 2010 as a photo-sharing service by Stanford University graduates Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger. Built as an app for the iPhone, it grew rapidly as users gravitated to its novel filters, which transformed the look of photos.
Facebook acquired it for about $1 billion in 2012. As of September, the app had 800 million monthly active users. Instagram’s feed also has posts from advertisers.
The decision to launch long-form video comes about two years after the launch of Instagram Stories, a feature that allows users to share photos and multiple short videos of up to 15 seconds uploaded within a 24-hour time-span. Instagram Stories is now one of the app’s most popular and fastest-growing features, according to the company, with about 300 million daily users.
The longer video option on Instagram aligns with recent moves by Facebook to make video a bigger focus of its offerings. This push has given Facebook an entree into additional video advertising, which sells at higher rates than other kinds of digital advertising.
Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg has called video a “mega trend,” and Facebook has recently funded a portfolio of professionally produced shows for its Watch tab. Facebook has a mixed record with video. In 2016, the company signed contracts with nearly 140 media companies and celebrities amounting to more than $50 million to create content for Facebook Live. The feature, which allowed users to stream live video, became mired in controversy when it was used to broadcast acts of violence.
—Deepa Seetharaman contributed to this article.