Over the weekend at VidCon 2016 in Anaheim, California, Time Inc. introduced its new mobile-first, all-video platform INSTANT. The new website differentiates itself by featuring exclusive content created by “the new famous,” (digital celebrities) as well as news and features about and by said celebrities.
These digital celebrities include some of the most popular artists on YouTube, Snapchat, Instagram, YouNow, Musical.ly, and Vine. The company revealed that its first group of creative partners will be known as the “Launch Squad,” and includes digital artists Baby Ariel, Jake Paul, RudanC, Mia Stammer, iJustine and Teala Dunn.
As these content creators come from largely mobile and video-centric platforms, INSTANT will emulate that—it will be presented on mobile devices and video.
The resulting user experience, Time Inc. claims, “will be unlike any available on mobile web today,” according to a press release. Interestingly, INSTANT will also be entirely native and driven by branded advertising.
Users can access content online via the website, instant.me, or through social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram, and YouNow, providing a “native-app-like experience” in the mobile browser, without requiring extra downloads.
The platform will produce daily “snackable,” shareable videos, called “Instants,” across digital verticals including entertainment, beauty, fashion, food, and social media, from digital artists’ point of view. Oftentimes, these “Instants” will be created and curated by the artists themselves.
Time Inc. also revealed INSTANT will feature original launch series, such as “You Should Follow,” which will introduce social up-and-comers; “The INSTANT Mix,” an expertly curated set of song covers; “Just the Tip,” a series providing (you guessed it) tips and tricks; and “Around the World—In an Instant,” which focuses on new digital artists, cultural phenomena, and popular global movements.
The platform is also working with Musical.ly to promote its “Muser Monday” challenge, which encourages participation in mash-ups and music video. The brand is also partnering with YouNow to launch a summer show called IRL, hosted by RudanC, which follows the digital artist on tour.
INSTANT’s content will also be featured on People and EW’s websites, social channels, and magazines. Furthermore, HelloGiggles, the young women’s lifestyle magazine acquired by Time Inc. in October 2015, is a premier launch partner. It will develop and produce programming, audience strategy, and experiential initiatives with INSTANT.
“Digital artists are the most explosive and addictive phenomenon in celebrity and entertainment today. INSTANT will be the first and foremost platform for and by these creators, with a beautiful new consumption experience for our audience,” Will Lee, digital editorial director for People and Entertainment Weekly, said in a press release.
Additionally, the company revealed a partnership with Degree Deodorant, the exclusive sponsor of the website. Degree Deodorant will provide native advertising content to support and create awareness for the platform.
“As the market leader, Degree Deodorant is all about breakthrough innovation, so we’re excited to collaborate with Time Inc. in launching this unique and innovative platform,” Matthew McCarthy, senior director of deodorants and men’s grooming for Unilever, said in a statement.
Kristin Benson, previously the head of editorial operations at WhoSay, joins INSTANT as the editorial director. In this position, Benson will lead the production team and oversee all editorial, native, and social media content.
The launch of INSTANT comes in the wake of Time Inc.’s decision to focus more on video, announced at NewFronts this year. At the event, Rich Battista, president of Entertainment and Sports Group and video, said “Today is the dawn of a new day for video,” noting the “underpinning of our strategy is a content anywhere approach that’s specifically tailored to platforms.”
Through this strategy, the company has increased video viewership by 200 percent year-over-year.
The company further revealed it would focus its distribution strategy on three primary video formats: social and live, short form, and long form.
Since NewFronts, the company has clearly been following through on this strategy. In fact, just a few weeks ago, the company announced a partnership with Wochit a cloud-based video creation platform, to help deliver premium videos across digital, social, OTT, and film.