New York begins initiatives to boost media industry

NEW YORK: Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced eight technology-focused initiatives to bolster the city's media industry, which is being battered by the recession and poor advertising climate, as well as industry changes.

NEW YORK: Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced eight technology-focused initiatives to bolster the city's media industry, which is being battered by the recession and poor advertising climate, as well as industry changes.

The Bloomberg administration hopes the initiatives, as part of the MediaNYC 2020 program, will aid the industry for the next decade and create about 8,000 jobs. The mayor's office acknowledged in a statement that the new media industry is growing at a faster rate than the traditional media sector, and that “much of the research and development is taking place elsewhere in the US and abroad.”

“Without question, there will be media and tech companies that grow in the next decade and move the ball forward considerably, and we want them to grow here in New York City, and we want to give them every advantage we can,” David Lombino, VP of public affairs at the New York City Economic Development Corporation, told PRWeek. “We know that 10 years ago, when you look at some of the media giants, many were not even incorporated yet, and if they were, many were just tiny entities.”

The initiative includes the creation of the NYC Media Lab, a research center for media companies and universities; the Media Tech Bond Program, which will help media firms upgrade their facilities with new technologies; and a fellowship that will aid about 20 media and technology entrepreneurs annually. The effort also contains a software competition, a freelancer workspace, and a recruitment initiative to attract up-and-coming companies from other emerging markets to the city.

The program was conceived amid a seemingly nonstop flow of negative news in the media industry, which has affected the city's media base. Nearly 7,500 jobs were reportedly lost at media companies during the first two months of the year. The New York Times, Time Inc., and Conde Nast are only a few media industry stalwarts that have sustained job losses in the past year. Other outlets have been shuttered entirely.

Lloyd Trufelman, president and CEO of agency Trylon SMR, which operates the NYConvergence blog about digital media technology, said that the mayor's efforts are positive for the media industry, but added that the city must continue to market the benefits of running a media company in New York.

“There was a recognition that a lot of the future growth in media will come from small companies and digital media companies, and the fact that he's saying that the city's media sector is both the established media companies and the start-ups is a good thing from a policy point of view,” he said. “If they want to attract and maintain top talent and successful companies, it has to be an ongoing marketing effort, akin to what the city is doing for the TV production business.”

The city is handling communications for the effort internally, said Lombino.

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