Instagram must 'fund own future' after launching video

By Jonathan Blake
Newsbeat technology reporter

image copyrightAP

The CEO of photo-sharing app Instagram has said the company is exploring ways of funding its own future.

Speaking to Newsbeat after announcing the app's new video feature, Kevin Systrom said there were "a few options on the table but none that are actually fleshed out".

He said the company was "not focussed" on advertising and would rather concentrate on "supporting brands" using the app.

Facebook bought Instagram in 2012 for more than $700m (£450m), despite it not making a profit.

The app is taking on Twitter's Vine and others by allowing its 130 million users to share 15-second video clips as well as photos.

Co-founder and CEO of Instagram Kevin Systrom spoke to Newsbeat's technology reporter Jonathan Blake.

Vine, Keek and others are doing a similar thing. What can you offer that's different?

The reason why we left it so long is because we wanted to come in at the right time with the right technology and the right team.

With the help of Facebook we've been able to build a really awesome technology called cinema that makes your videos look gorgeous.

And we've been able to build 13 custom filters to make your videos look even better.

A lot of people say the success of Instagram is its simplicity. Might some users see this as a distraction?

image copyrightAFP

It's definitely something we thought of.

We wanted to make sure whatever we did to Instagram, we didn't change it, we would just make it better.

After using it for a while now I'm so excited about seeing how people are using it and it fits right in with what we're already doing.

What is your relationship like with Facebook?

The relationship is really healthy, in fact we wouldn't have been able to build this feature as quickly as we did without the help of Facebook.

I'd say the relationship is really productive.

Do you feel the pressure to make money? Will we see adverts on Instagram?

That's not something we're focussed on now. We need to be able to fund the experiments and the features that we want to be able to build in the future.

Whatever we do in the future we're going to make sure it's right for both businesses and also for users.

You must have some options you're thinking about?

image copyrightGetty Images
image captionFacebook chairman Mark Zuckerberg also attended the Instagram launch

Of course, there are a few options on the table but none that are actually fleshed out.

We wouldn't have been able to build video as quickly as we did had we been focussed on other ideas like advertising. It's all about users first and consumers first.

If there is some form of advertising in the app, how do you see that taking shape?

Whatever we do whether it's a product feature or advertising, it's going to feel right for Instagram.

One of the cool things I've seen on Instagram is how brands are using it.

It goes to show that I think people on Instagram love following their content because they're producing authentic and beautiful moments.

That's where we'd like to start, supporting brands to use Instagram in an authentic and organic way.

Did you ever imagine that people would take so many pictures of food and cups of coffee?

That's a great question. I love cooking and I love making coffee. One of my jobs growing up was as a barista in a coffee shop.

So in some ways I'm guilty as charged of taking so many pictures of food and coffee.

It's about sharing what you're doing, who you're with and I think there's something really magical about that.

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