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The Academic Channel, the first television channel broadcast on the internet, was established with the goal of bringing higher education into every Israeli home.  

The Academic Channel was established at the initiative of the President of the University of Haifa, Prof. Aaron Ben-Ze'ev, who envisioned the reservoir of knowledge found in academia reaching the community-at-large, through a television channel that would broadcast academic, educationally enriching programs.

Initially, in 1994, the pilot project of "The Academic Channel" operated in a trial format of five hours of daily programming, broadcast nationally on community-based cable TV.  

The programming was based on original Hebrew productions – mainly panel talk shows on academic subjects - as well as translated programs produced by other university-based and public television channels.  The partners in the project were Bar Ilan University, Hebrew University, The Technion and The Open University.

Tzachi Shnabel, the first director of The Academic Channel, who developed the project and defined its character, explained that the mandate of the channel broadcasts provides the universities that broadcast and graduates of the academic community in Israel an exceptionally influential instrument for unifying Israeli society, both through shared knowledge and through the assimilation of the universal academic dialect.

There are currently few cable TV channels in Israel whose broadcasts are distinctly Israeli in character, while the remaining channels are international channels with no specific Israeli character. An analysis of the Israeli channels shows that some are private commercial channels, three are government channels and while other channels broadcast higher quality programming, less than 10% of their programming is originally in Hebrew.

The need for quality, original Hebrew programming clearly exists, and The Academic Channel has filled this vacuum. The Academic Channel endeavors to produce programming on diverse subjects, mainly talk shows, in which leading academics and scientists participate. The channel has already produced hundreds of hours of programming which has received accolades from a broad audience of viewers.

In addition, The Academic Channel has developed parallel avenues of broadcasting on the internet: live broadcasts (identical to those broadcast on cable stations) and broadcasting shows "on demand".  The expanded internet site already enables access to hundreds of hours of broadcasts for internet users. In the near future, academic classes and lectures will be available on line based on the University's core curriculum. This program of "distance learning" will enable hundreds of thousands of students in Israel and abroad to take advantage of this state-of-the-art tool for learning.

In 2004, The Academic Channel received the status of a unique community channel by the Council for Cable and Satellite Broadcasting and was broadcast on Channel 51 on the HOT cable network, 14 hours a day, 7 days a week. In July 2007, HOT decided to stop broadcasting The Academic Channel.

The Academic Channel quickly reorganized to contend with the new reality and became a unique television channel, broadcasting exclusively on the internet.

At present, The Academic Channel programs can be viewed on the internet 24/7.  The broadcasting is scheduled in one-hour "strips" by subject: society, culture and art, science and medicine, economics and law, security and political science. A unique show entitled "Academic Diary" is broadcast each evening. In addition to scheduled shows and reruns, shows can also be found using an internal search engine and viewed "on demand".
The internet site is currently being upgraded, a process that will be completed in October 2007. The upgraded site will include enrichment programs, other than recorded TV programs. These programs will add additional academic learning tools.

An English language Academic Channel will connect viewers from around the world to Israeli academia. This channel will enable academic campuses around the world to access video signals and will expand the exchange of knowledge (mainly through live international symposia) between the academic community in Israel and scholars around the world.

It is important to emphasize that via the internet, Academic Channel broadcasts may be viewed from every computer in every corner of the world.  This will also contribute to the strengthening and deepening of the connection between Israel and Jewish communities globally, simply through the immediate and direct exposure to Israeli subject matter. (Some of the Hebrew programming will have English subtitles).
In addition, the Academic Channel is a signatory to broadcasting agreements in partnership with a number of academic and public broadcasting stations (PBS) worldwide. The integration of transmissions (either of live or recorded broadcasts), resulting in increased volume of the Academic Channel's programming, will improve the level of exposure given to Israel's scientific community in particular, and to Israeli society in general, and will result in a higher quality content than currently exists on the Israeli broadcasting spectrum.   

The Academic Channel broadcasts from a national broadcasting center located on the campus of the University of Haifa, where the Academic Channel studio, opened in June 2007, is also located.

Broadcasting center, taping studio, archives and head office: 04-824-0092/4
Fax: 04-824-6995
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Chief Producer: Moran Mizrahi
Chairman of the Founding Committee and Board of Directors: President of the University of Haifa, Prof. Aaron Ben-Ze'ev
Founder of the Academic Channel and Strategic Advisor: Tzachi Shnabel
Administrative Coordinator: Amos Eilat
Director of the www site for Information and Broadcasting: Eden Orion
Technical Coordinator: Shlomi Abukasis


Ilan Yavelberg
Rachel Fedaman