New UCTV channel to premiere on YouTube

UCTV Prime, the University of California Television’s new YouTube original series, is set to premiere this March in what will be the website’s first production partnership with a university.

The series will launch March 1, and will become the first university channel to receive a grant from YouTube, according to UCTV Managing Director Lynn Burnstan. The university will use the grant to film mini documentaries and features on research, politics, art and more across all 10 UC campuses, amounting to 15 minutes of original content each week.

Under the production partnership, YouTube will function much like a television network by first giving a grant to the channel to produce content and then making money off the advertisements that viewers of the channel watch, Burnstan said.

The new partnership marks a shift from UCTV being an “aggregator and disseminator” of UC-related content to a creator of original content, according to Burnstan. She added that the shift in content will be accompanied by a transition from “C-SPAN production value” to “high production value” thanks to the grant.

Some installments of the show that have been shot or are in the works include a four-segment show on public art on the UC campuses called “Naked Art” and a recurring political segment on policy and voting issues, as well as research across the campuses.

UCTV was launched in 2000 and is based at UC San Diego, according to the UCTV website. Other well-known names to be included in YouTube’s production partnerships include The Wall Street Journal and Madonna.

Many students admitted to not having heard of UCTV before, but said they would consider viewing the channel after it launches.

“If it actually pertains to my major or interesting new developments in research, then … I would check it out,” said third-year student Wesley Cheung, who said he spends on average five hours on YouTube per week.

Burnstan said though she doesn’t think traditional television will go away any time soon, viewers’ access to entertainment and news is expanding.

“The notion of what television is is changing,” she said. “Our relationship with that kind of media is changing.”

She added that though UCTV Prime is still in its budding stage, there is room for students who would like to get involved with the filming and editing process on the channel in the near future.