Viewers curious to see vintage footage of LSD being tested on a cat, what happens when an AK-47 is fired at a windshield or how to wash their hair in space can now direct their browsers to Sci2, a new online destination for science-related videos launched yesterday by the Science Channel.
“We wanted to create a new entertainment destination targeted specifically at fans of science content with these kinds of mind-blowing, smart, educational yet entertaining clips we all see being shared on the web,” says Miguel Monteverde, who has been at the centre of Sci2’s development as the VP of digital media at Discovery Communications.
The content will be sourced from around the web, Discovery Digital Networks’ TestTube and more remote corners of the Discovery family of networks’ vast digital vaults, and will be updated daily with new videos.
Sci2 plans to produce original short-form content in the future, possibly experimenting with some pieces in a few weeks, but “we thought the best way to start was by curating that content,” Monteverde says. “We’ve got a bunch of twenty-somethings who are going to be running this day-to-day… Millennials with the kind of editorial tastes they share, we hope, with the audience we’re targeting.”
The curation efforts are being headed by British-born, Toronto-based blogger Elise Andrew, responsible for the Facebook page I F***ing Love Science, which has more than 10 million likes. Last year, Andrew teamed with Discovery to create an online show for TestTube, and she’s currently developing a (traditional) TV show for Science Channel.
“Obviously, she’s got great editorial instincts and a great gut for this,” Monteverde says.
There will be no display ads on Sci2, and embedded videos from YouTube and non-Discovery portals will be earning ad dollars for the original host sites. Revenue will be generated by ads running on Discovery-owned video content, which in addition to re-purposed footage from network shows will include streaming video of assembly lines across America; live city cams from around the world; footage from NASA; vintage experiments; and time-lapse video feeds.
Additionally, users are encouraged to submit their own science videos for consideration by Andrews and the editorial team.
Could one of these amateur videographers wind up as the next Science Channel star? Monteverde won’t rule it out.
“Whether it’s the Science Channel or any other network here, I think we’re always open to working with someone who’s doing some amazing stuff,” Monteverde says. “Frankly, that’s what happened with Elise. We found her Facebook page, fell in love with what she was doing, reached out to her and now we’ve got a deal.”