The University of California Television (UCTV) announced Tuesday that it has partnered with Internet search engine Google to provide free, unique content to the world via the Google Video service.
With this new partnership, UCTV – a 24-hour satellite channel – will provide a large collection of educational video content filmed mostly on UC campuses at Video.google.com. The material includes interviews, documentaries, lectures, historical materials and musical performances.
Programming themes on the channel include health and medicine, science, public affairs, humanities, variety and arts and music.
UCTV Communications Manager Alison Gang said more than 1,000 hours of UCTV programming became available for viewing and downloading on the Google Video website a few weeks ago. Users can access all the content for free.
Gang said the UC-Google partnership reflects the University’s ambition to educate and provide the public with access to its exclusive resources.
“UCTV is a part of the public service mission of the University of California to move knowledge,” Gang said. “It is a niche broadcaster, making valuable content that people can’t find in the mainstream media.”
For example, Gang said, the channel broadcast the Ivory-billed Woodpecker Conference held at UCSB this past summer because there was a perceived interest among potential viewers. The Ivory-billed Woodpecker was commonly thought to be extinct – a belief challenged by findings submitted at the conference.
UCTV has a broad audience, but is primarily comprised of older and educated viewers with professional careers, Gang said. The average viewing age peaks at around 30 or 40 years old and again at 50 or 60.
Gang said some shows, such as the “Med Ed Hour,” target people with special interests. The tri-weekly program broadcasts conversations between medical doctors about their current research. She said UCTV also has shows that target primary and secondary school teachers who use the channel to augment the classroom experience.
Each of the UC’s 10 campuses contributes pieces to the channel and the website, Gang said. The three national laboratories in Berkeley, Livermore and Los Alamos that the UC manages for the federal government, as well as other university-affiliated institutions, also supply content.
The turn-around time from when a program is offered to when it is aired depends on whether the piece meets the certified standards of production quality and timeliness, Gang said.
“UC Santa Barbara is probably the most prolific, but San Diego and Berkeley commonly submit programs,” Gang said.
UCSB has 11 new programs airing in March alone, such as last month’s Arts & Lectures-sponsored debate with Eric Alterman and Tucker Carlson, titled “The American News Media – Liberal or Conservative Bias.”
Prior to the Google partnership, Gang said, UCTV existed for five years on the DISH Network, community cable channels and “video-on-demand” archives accessible via RealPlayer. She said 16 million households nationwide, including all broadcast mediums, will now have access to the channel.
Google spokesperson Nathan Tyler said the search engine covers all costs used to broadcast UCTV. There are no advertisements or other mechanisms used to generate revenue from the free content.
“Our goal is to make it possible to watch and purchase video, since much of the content wasn’t easily accessible,” Tyler said. “We’re very excited to work with UCTV because they help bring valuable content for a large, broad audience.”
In addition to the University, anyone can upload videos, which can then be played on the Google Video website for all other users to see through the world system, he said.
“I think it’s a great user experience,” Tyler said. “It’s easy to use, and not at all complicated.”
UCTV is based on the campus of UC San Diego, but officially operates out of the UC Office of the President.
Viewers can tune in to watch UCTV programming on Cox’s Channel 21, DISH Network Channel 9412 and the Internet at www.uctv.tv for 24-hour live stream, video-on-demand and podcasts.