UCTV Launches YouTube’s First University-Run Original Channel
While YouTube’s high profile production partnerships with brands and public figures like Madonna, The Wall Street Journal and Jay-Z garnered much of the attention, the University of California was quietly making history as the first and only university to be included among YouTube’s coveted original channel deals.
YouTube announced its plans to fund the creation of original programming last October, and the world moved one more step away from traditional television. The Internet’s largest video sharing site certainly isn’t the first online platform aimed at converting consumers from cable and satellite to web-delivered video content—companies like Hulu and Netflix have been courting early adapters for several years—but with the backing of its behemoth parent company, Google, and reportedly hundreds of millions of dollars to invest, YouTube’s venture is certainly the most attention-grabbing.
On March 1, University of California Television (UCTV), based at UC San Diego Extension, launched UCTV Prime (youtube.com/uctvprime), a YouTube channel featuring 15 minutes of fresh content each week from throughout the University of California.
UCTV Prime is one of approximately 100 advertising-supported original channels on the YouTube platform created specifically for today’s connected viewers around the world. UCTV’s history with YouTube goes back to 2006 when it became a channel partner with Google Video, which was eventually replaced when Google acquired YouTube. Since then, UCTV has become one of YouTube’s most popular education channels, with more than 50,000 subscribers and over 4,800 videos. When it came time to tap new educational partners for their original channels initiative, it only made sense for YouTube to invite UCTV to pitch a channel concept, which they did in summer 2011, eventually inking a deal in early 2012.
“With technology and viewer habits changing so fast, the whole nature of ‘television’ is evolving,” said Lynn Burnstan, UCTV’s director. “We’re thrilled and honored to take part in YouTube’s ambitious effort to shape the future of the medium. Since UCTV’s beginning twelve years ago, we have continually developed new and innovative uses of television and, today, the future is more exciting than ever.”
UCTV Prime’s programming draws on the tremendous knowledge resources available on the ten University of California campuses, five medical schools, three national labs and other affiliated institutions, anchored by a collection of in-depth, 10-minute documentary mini-series.
The channel debuted March 1 with “Naked Art,” a four-part mini-series exploring the preeminent public art collections located at UC San Diego, UCLA and UC San Francisco. Then, on April 6, UCTV Prime debuts “The Skinny on Obesity,” a three-part series examining the obesity epidemic and how UCSF researchers like Dr. Robert Lustig, whose 2009 UCTV video, “Sugar: The Bitter Truth,” has become a YouTube hit with over two million views, are working to combat it.
The channel also features “UCTV Prime: Vote,” a recurring, 5-minute segment offering election analysis and commentary by UC faculty and experts, including UC San Diego’s Peter Gourevitch on who’s driving the debate between austerity and spending, UC Merced’s Jessica Trounstine on factors that decrease incumbents’ responsiveness to voters, and UC Davis’ Giovanni Peri on the economic impact of immigration.
“UCTV Prime: Cuts,” a 5-minute recurring series reporting on research developments, entertaining events and interesting personalities on the campuses and beyond, is also a regular channel feature. Its debut episode looked at innovative canine cancer research and treatment taking place at UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, and how it translates into cancer care for humans.
YouTube users are encouraged to subscribe to UCTV Prime at youtube.com/uctvprime to keep up on the latest programs and browse related playlists populated by content from UCTV’s robust YouTube channel (youtube.com/uctv) and other UC YouTube channels. The UCTV Prime website, uctv.tv/prime, complements the channel with direct viewer engagement through related blog posts, viewer polls and other interactive features.
In addition to the YouTube deal, UCTV has a continued presence on television and the web, and is expanding to even more outlets such as Roku, a low-cost device that allows users to stream web video to their television, and, coming this spring, a new iPhone app. For a complete list of UCTV’s outlets, visit uctv.tv/wheretowatch.