The Facebook-owned photo and video platform Instagram is reportedly testing out live video capabilities, according to a report in Russian news site T Journal, which has unearthed screenshots of the new features.
In one screen capture, for instance, there is a red ‘LIVE’ denotation at the top of the app’s Explore section, whereby users could theoretically access live streams directly alongside Instagram’s recently-launched Stories feature. Another screen capture shared by T Journal shows what going live looks like from a broadcaster’s perspective, with the ability to schedule a stream or click a record button, which reads ‘Go Insta!’
T Journal noted that a user had discovered the Live features while running a beta version of the Instagram app on Android. When she clicked on the “Live” button, it reportedly took her to a page featuring other “popular” live broadcasts, which then displayed an error message
While The Verge reports that Instagram has been mulling live video capabilities for a year now, the photo-sharing company declined to comment on these new findings. But in the same way that Instagram sought to compete with Snapchat in launching Stories, live video capabilities would instantly usher Instagram into the contentious livestreaming wars alongside major players like Periscope, YouNow, YouTube, and even parent company Facebook.
And Instagram’s embrace of the live medium would come as no surprise given Facebook’s vast ambitions within the space. Over the course of the summer, the world’s largest social network reportedly paid 24 YouTube creators, Vine stars, and other digital influencers a total of $2.2 million to host live broadcasts on a regular basis. The company is also piloting mid-roll ads within broadcasts as a potential monetization solution, and rolling out new video metrics by which creators can work to improve engagement.