Netflix crime thriller ‘Ozark’ returns August 31st

When we left Ozark's Marty Byrde (Jason Bateman), it looked like he had struck a deal that solved his and his family's most immediate and life-threatening problems. But moments later that all went away, setting the Byrdes up for a whole host of new t…

YouTube creators can hype pre-recorded videos with ‘Premieres’

While YouTube users have been able to schedule pre-recorded videos for years, up until now there hasn't been a seamless way to build anticipation for those videos. But, there's a new feature being launched at VidCon 2018, called YouTube Premieres, th…

Instagram’s IGTV could soon challenge YouTube’s dominance

Instagram was born as a simple photo-sharing app in 2010, but it began moving into video in 2013, when it started letting users upload short clips. Now, five years after making that initial push into the space, the company plans to take its efforts e…

Instagram’s “IGTV” video hub for creators launches tomorrow

TechCrunch has learned that the Instagram longer-form video hub that’s launching tomorrow is called IGTV and it will be part of the Explore tab, according to multiple sources. Instagram has spent the week meeting with online content creators to encourage them to prepare videos closer to 10-minute YouTube vlogs than the 1-minute maximum videos the app allows today.

Instagram is focusing its efforts around web celebrities that made their name on mobile rather than more traditional, old-school publishers and TV studios that might come off too polished and processed. The idea is to let these creators, who have a knack for this style of content and who already have sizeable Instagram audiences, set the norms for what IGTV is about.

Instagram declined to comment on the name IGTV and the video hub’s home in app’s Explore tab. We’ll get more information at the feature’s launch event in San Francisco tomorrow at 9am Pacific.

Following the WSJ’s initial report that Instagram was working on allowing longer videos, TechCrunch learned much more from sources about the company’s plan to build an aggregated destination for watching this content akin to Snapchat Discover. The videos will be full-screen, vertically oriented, and can have a resolution up to 4K. Users will be greeted with collection of Popular recent videos, and the option to Continue Watching clips they didn’t finish.

The videos aren’t meant to compete with Netflix Originals or HBO-quality content. Instead, they’ll be the kind of things you might see on YouTube rather than the short, off-the-cuff social media clips Instagram has hosted to date. Videos will offer a link-out option so creators can drive traffic to their other social presences, websites, or ecommerce stores. Instagram is planning to offer direct monetization, potentially including advertising revenue shares, but hasn’t finalized how that will work.

We reported that the tentative launch date for the feature was June 20th. A week later, Instagram sent out press invites for an event on June 20th our sources confirm is for IGTV.

Based on its historic growth trajectory that has seen Instagram adding 100 million users every four months, and its announcement of 800 million in September 2017, it’s quite possible that Instagram will announce it’s hit 1 billion monthly users tomorrow. That could legitimize IGTV as a place creators want to be for exposure, not just monetization.

IGTV could create a new behavior pattern for users who are bored of their friends’ content, or looking for something to watch in between Direct messages. If successful, Instagram might even consider breaking out IGTV into its own mobile app, or building it an app for smart TVs

The launch is important for Facebook because it lacks a popular video destination since its Facebook Watch hub was somewhat of a flop. Facebook today said it would expand Watch to more creators, while also offering new interactive video tools to let them make their own HQ trivia-style game shows. Facebook also launched its Brand Collabs Manager that helps businesses find creators to sponsor. That could help IGTV stars earn money through product placement or sponsored content.

Until now, video consumption in the Facebook family of apps has been largely serendipitous, with users stumbling across clips in their News Feed. IGTV will let it more directly compete with YouTube, where people purposefully come to watch specific videos from their favorite creators. But YouTube was still built in the web era with a focus on horizontal video that’s awkward to watch on iPhones or Androids.

With traditional television viewership slipping, Facebook’s size and advertiser connections could let it muscle into the lucrative space. But rather than try to port old-school TV shows to phones, IGTV could let creators invent a new vision for television on mobile.

What’s on TV: ‘Luke Cage,’ ‘Preacher’ and ‘Westworld’

The FIFA World Cup is already rolling along, but this week we're getting ready for the second season of Marvel's Luke Cage on Netflix. AMC has the season premiere of Preacher and Comedy Central brings Drunk History while Westworld wraps up season two…

Volvo builds a self-docking yacht

There are plenty of things that can go wrong when you dock a boat, and if they do, the consequences can be expensive. It's a problem that Volvo Penta claims to have solved after building a "self-docking yacht" that can park itself in spaces no sailor…

Google demo shows how AR can thrive on the web

Google has been hyping up augmented reality on the web, and it's easy to understand why — it promises an immersive experience without requiring a special app. But what does that look like in practice? The company now has an easy way to find out….

Ben Heck’s mini arcade teardown

If big companies can glue portable electronics together, why can't we? Ben decides to go all the way with the sticky stuff by tearing down and then rebuilding a mini arcade. Originally designed as a keychain, the arcade isn't quite small enough…