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KQED’s Nature Series Deep Look Hits One Million YouTube Subscribers

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The Deep Look team visiting Pixar Animation Studios in Emeryville, California, September 28, 2018. (L-R) Josh Cassidy, Lauren Sommer, Kia Simon, Jenny Oh, Gabriela Quirós, Craig Rosa, Seth Samuel and Teodros Hailye.

San Francisco, CA, June 12, 2019 – KQED’s award-winning nature series Deep Look has crossed the prestigious one million subscribers mark on YouTube, earning it a coveted gold play button. The series has built its popularity exploring big science concepts by going very small, combining the cinematic tradition of PBS nature documentaries with the short, personal, question-driven style of popular YouTube shows.

Deep Look's 1 Million YouTube Subscribers Gold Play Button Plaque

"Deep Look is the first station-produced PBS Digital Studios series to hit one million subscribers, and the PBSDS team and I are thrilled. The series has earned its spot as one of the best science series online with its combination of incredible macro footage and memorable stories from some of the smallest (and sometimes weirdest) corners of the natural world. Deep Look is a great example of what happens when PBS stations combine their storytelling and production skills with an engaging digital-first approach. We are proud to have KQED’s Deep Look in the PBS Digital Studios family, and can’t wait to see where the show goes next,” says Adam Dylewski, PBS Digital Studios’ director of programming.

“From our first video about the pygmy sea horse’s incredible camouflage to our latest video about the fearsome wormlion and its sandy pit, Deep Look reveals and shares the wonder of nature just beyond the edge of our visible world,” says Craig Rosa, Deep Look’s series producer. “We truly love making these episodes, but it’s so incredible that the series has resonated with so many viewers across the globe. We want to thank our subscribers and fans who got us to this wonderful milestone.”

Deep Look’s unique three-to-five minute episodes are shot in ultra-HD (4K), using macro cinematography and video microscopy and are released approximately twice a month. Deep Look was originally created to reach a millennial audience on YouTube and it has achieved this goal. Seventy percent of Deep Look viewers are aged 18-34, much younger than the traditional PBS primetime viewer whose average age is over 65. Since the series launched in October 2014 in collaboration with PBS Digital Studios, it has produced over 90 episodes receiving more than 100 million views overall and will be releasing its 100th episode this September.

“Filming wildlife is always unpredictable. Animals are usually on their own schedule and we have to work hard to capture their often tiny but amazing behaviors. A big part of that is working with scientists to figure out what we can film,” says Josh Cassidy, Deep Look’s lead producer and cinematographer, who also came up with the original concept for the series. “Besides our fans, we also want to thank all of the researchers we’ve worked with over the years for giving us access to their labs and research. We’d never be able to tell so many different types of stories without their expertise.”


Deep Look’s top five most popular videos to date are: How Mosquitoes Use Six Needles to Suck Your Blood (14 million views); This Mushroom Starts Killing You Before You Even Realize It (5.8 million views); What Happens When You Put A Hummingbird in A Wind Tunnel (5 million views); These Hairworms Eat a Cricket Alive and Control Its Mind (4.8 million views); and How Ticks Dig In with A Mouth Full of Hooks (3.7 million views.)

“A few of our most popular videos show something unexpected about a creature that we know or have a relationship with,” says Deep Look coordinating producer Gabriela Quirós, who produced popular episodes about the anatomy of mosquito and tick bites. “Other times viewers are riveted by the sheer grossness of a natural phenomenon, like in our video where long hairworms come out of a cricket’s rear end. That’s nature for you: It’s beautiful and gross.”

Deep Look asks how and why things happen at a very tiny scale and out of that we have discovered some pretty universal truths,” says Lauren Sommer, KQED science reporter and Deep Look’s host. “There’s betrayal, cooperation and surprise – all the things that make great stories.”

Deep Look produces 20 videos per year and is currently running a Patreon campaign to fundraise for a special filming expedition to Oaxaca, Mexico. The entire series with accompanying articles can be accessed at KQED.org/DeepLook and on YouTube.com/KqedDeepLook.

The Team
Deep Look’s award-winning production team includes: Lauren Sommer, host and writer; Craig Rosa, series producer; Josh Cassidy, lead producer and cinematographer; Gabriela Quirós, coordinating producer, and Jenny Oh, producer. Each episode has an original score by Seth Samuel, as well as additional editing and motion graphics by Kia Simon. Many episodes also include special animations by Teodros Hailye. Deep Look alumni over the years include Amy Standen, host and writer; Elliott Kennerson, producer, editor and post-production coordinator; Laura Klivans, host and writer, and Emily Harris post-production coordinator.

Deep Look has won numerous awards:
June 2019, Northern California Emmy® Award in the Health/Science/ Environment- Feature/Segment category for Why the Male Black Widow is a Real Home Wrecker
October 2018, SPJ NorCal Excellence in Journalism Award for Science, Environment and Health Reporting (TV/video) for episodes about bark beetles, tick bites, leeches and daddy longlegs
September 2018, Jackson Hole Science Media Award for Best Short Form Series
June 2018, Northern California Emmy® Award in the Health/Science Environment-Feature/Segment category for Praying Mantis Love is Waaay Weirder Than You Think
June 2017, a Northern California Emmy® Award in the Health/Science/Environment-Feature/ Segment category for The Snail-Smashing, Fish-Spearing, Eye-Popping Mantis Shrimp
April 2017, a Webby People’s Voice Award in the Science and Education Film and Video category for How Mosquitoes Use Six Needles to Suck Your Blood
October 2015, Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival Best Limited Series – Short Form.

Funding for Deep Look is provided in part by PBS Digital Studios. Deep Look is a project of KQED Science, which is supported by the National Science Foundation, the S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation, the Dirk and Charlene Kabcenell Foundation, the Vadasz Family Foundation, the Fuhs Family Foundation Fund, Campaign 21 and the members of KQED.

About PBS Digital Studios
PBS has long brought the public original, thought-provoking programming. PBS Digital Studios (PBSDS) takes that same mission and applies it to the Internet age. Working with creators from across the web, its network of short-form video series showcases the best of the Internet while also celebrating the best parts of public television.

About KQED Science
KQED Science is the largest science and environment journalism and education unit in the Western United States. The science unit explores science and environment news, trends and events from the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond with its award-winning, multimedia reporting. The unit produces weekly radio reports, the YouTube nature series Deep Look, and features posts from prominent science outlets and experts. It also engages with its audience on social media, through community events and through partnerships with renowned science centers and institutions. Discover more about the unit at KQED.org/science.


About KQED
KQED serves the people of Northern California with a public-supported alternative to commercial media. An NPR and PBS affiliate based in San Francisco, KQED is home to one of the most listened-to public radio stations in the nation, one of the highest-rated public television services and an award-winning education program helping students and educators thrive in 21st-century classrooms. A trusted news source and leader and innovator in interactive technology, KQED takes people of all ages on journeys of exploration — exposing them to new people, places and ideas.

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