By Doug Ramsey, Calit2
San Diego, CA, November 29, 2007 -- One year after the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2) launched its own "channel" on the online video sharing website YouTube, the number of video views passed the 50,000 mark in late November.
The channel - dubbed Calit2ube (pronounced cal-eye-tee-tube ) - went online in November 2006. Currently, visitors to the site can choose among more than 50 videos, ranging from hour-long presentations to short features about research and researchers, including students, affiliated with Calit2.
"Having a Calit2 channel on YouTube has allowed us to reach a large audience of people who may never have heard about us otherwise," says Calit2 director Larry Smarr, who is also a professor of Computer Science and Engineering in UCSD's Jacobs School of Engineering. "This is where many young people are going to find out what's happening in the world, and given the institute's heavy investment in video, it was a natural extension to make our content available through YouTube and other new-media outlets."
Calit2ube is produced by the communications group in the UCSD Division of Calit2, and was developed and managed by assistant director-producer Alex Matthews. "Young people are already sold on YouTube," says Matthews, age 23, who has been a full-time employee of Calit2 since he graduated from UCSD in 2006, after working part-time for the institute and the Jacobs School for three years as an undergraduate. "It is also fun to know that we are popularizing science and technology on a site more associated with pop culture."
The #1 video - with more than 16,000 views in the past nine months - was a talk by UCSD Ph.D. candidate Ge Jin on Chinese Gold Farmers in Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPGs). New "factories" have sprouted up in China, where workers known as "gold farmers" play the Internet games all day and sell, for real money, virtual goods such as high-level characters and in-game currency. The buyers are typically affluent gamers in Korea, Japan, Europe and North America who use the virtual goods to enhance their status in online games such as World of Warcraft .
Having a way to broadcast content anywhere in the world gives Calit2 a way to reach out to global viewers far removed from San Diego. Viewers in Germany, Australia and other countries have emailed Calit2 in response to watching the videos, and others post reactions on the site itself. Nearly 100 people now subscribe to the content feed -- ensuring that they know whenever new videos are added to the Calit2ube lineup.
Calit2 is exploring other non-traditional avenues for distribution of its new and archived video productions. It recently began posting talks on a new online video site focused on public policy issues, FORA.tv (http://fora.tv). Calit2 regularly produces programming for UCSD-TV, such as "From Holy Land to Holy Land," produced by Calit2 and currently airing on the network. (The 30-minute documentary explores the work of UCSD archaeologist Tom Levy and is the first in a series of videos for a planned archive in Calit2's Center of Interdisciplinary Science for Art, Architecture and Archaeology.) The institute also recently joined ResearchChannel, a consortium of universities that maintain a presence on cable and video-on-demand TV, as well as the DISH EchoStar satellite network; Calit2 will distribute programming to ResearchChannel's large subscriber base, which topped 30 million households this month.