Instagram is expanding Live to accommodate more than two broadcasters in a single stream. The platform has unveiled Live Rooms, which (like Twitch’s Squad Stream) will allow up to four people to go live together. In its announcement, Instagram says the hope is to open more opportunities for users by allowing people to host things like talk shows, jam sessions or group tutorials with more than one friend.
The feature will start rolling out today (March 1st), and should reach all users over the course of the week.
People have been using Instagram’s Live feature a lot more and in new ways since pandemic—related lockdowns started in 2020. The government has been using it to spread awareness about COVID-19 guidelines, for instance, and entertainment outfits are using it to broadcast interviews with celebrities. Over the past year, the platform has made Live streams viewable on the web to give people the option to watch them on larger screens and allowed users to save them to IGTV to make them available for viewing longer than 24 hours. In October, Instagram also extended the maximum length of a stream to four hours, up from just an hour.
Expanding the number of people that can go live together is another way for creators to reach their audiences. Instagram also expects Live Rooms to give them more opportunities to earn money, since the feature could potentially grow their following. Viewers can buy badges from streamers during a Live for more visibility, after all, buy products from them or donate to their non-profits.
Users can start broadcasting by swiping left and picking the Live camera option. They’ll then have to tap the Rooms icon and choose guests to add — they can either broadcast with people who’ve requested to go live with them or send invites to other people. The platform assures that users blocked by any of the broadcasters in a Live won’t be able to see it and that all features available to Live hosts, such as the ability to report and block comments, will also be available to Live Rooms hosts.