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PR- 268-10
June 14, 2010


Partnership of the City, Polytechnic Institute of NYU and Columbia University Will Connect Media Companies with Academic Institutions and Drive Independent Technology Research

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today launched NYC Media Lab, a new initiative to promote innovation within New York City’s media industry. The new laboratory – a consortium of the New York City Economic Development Corporation, Polytechnic Institute of New York University (NYU-Poly) and Columbia University – will drive new technology research and connect companies looking to advance new media technologies with local academic institutions undertaking related research. NYC Media Lab builds on models established at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Stanford University and is the nation’s first government-supported laboratory for media innovation. It will be housed within the NYU Polytechnic Institute campus in Downtown Brooklyn. Mayor Bloomberg made the announcement at the Wired “Disruptive by Design” conference held at the Morgan Library and Museum, where he was joined by New York City Economic Development Corporation President Seth W. Pinsky, NYU-Poly Provost Dianne Rekow, Columbia University Vice President for Intellectual Property & Technology Transfer Orin Herskowitz, and AOL Chairman and CEO Tim Armstrong, an advisor to the City’s MediaNYC 2020 initiative.

“Many of New York City’s 100 universities and colleges are conducting new media-related research within areas that the City’s 10,000 media companies are looking to expand, but all too often that connection is made slowly or never at all. The NYC Media Lab will bring these two forces together,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “And by sponsoring its own independent research driven by private sector interests, the NYC Media Lab will further establish the City as a center for next-generation media research and commercial development.”

New York City Economic Development Corporation will provide $250,000 to establish NYC Media Lab, which will be located in Downtown Brooklyn at the NYU-Poly Center for Advanced Technology in Telecommunications and Distributed Information Systems. During its inaugural year it will host a minimum of 10 roundtable discussions between the private sector and academic institutions on topics ranging from technology innovation to business model redesign to legal issues. NYC Media Lab will host its first roundtable discussion this summer, focusing on the future of online and mobile video. The event, sponsored by WPP, the world’s largest communications services group, will bring together senior product and strategy leaders from across WPP’s portfolio of companies with faculty experts from Columbia, New York University and its Polytechnic Institute, who are currently engaged in research on the topic.

NYC Media Lab will connect private-sector businesses with research already underway, and develop collaborative research projects on topics vital to the City’s media industry such as: next generation search technologies; content format for digital mobile content; computer animation for film and gaming; emerging marketing techniques; and new devices currently in development that may affect content distribution. In addition, the NYC Media Lab will create a media research and development database comprised of university faculty; experts from corporations, not-for-profit research institutions, and R&D facilities throughout New York City; as well as contribute its own expertise to research currently being undertaken by the City’s academic institutions. It will also provide educational and networking services.

NYU-Poly will be responsible for management and operations of the NYC Media Lab, and Columbia University will coordinate involvement of its research faculty and faculty at other area institutions, and may contribute space for NYC Media Lab events. Divisions from area universities including New York University, the City University of New York, The New School, and Fordham University will be engaged to participate in the NYC Media Lab. And NYC Media Lab will develop a sponsorship and partnership structure to enable outside institutions to join the initiative. The NYC Media Lab will seek additional sponsors and members to support the expansion of its activities. Those looking for more information about NYC Media Lab can visit

“The speed at which technology is evolving today means that our City’s academic researchers and media companies must work together to make sure that New York remains at the forefront of innovation,” said NYCEDC President Seth W. Pinsky. “By establishing this new Media Lab to facilitate these interactions, we increase the chances that the next great technology company will grow and thrive here, as opposed to Silicon Valley or elsewhere.”

“As technology and media increasingly converge, collaboration is essential to researching and identifying the best new IT solutions for New Yorkers,” said Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications Commissioner Carole Post. “The NYC Media Lab will provide the City valuable insights as it seeks to leverage academic and private sector expertise to address public sector issues.”

“NYU-Poly eagerly accepts the challenge to work with Mayor Bloomberg and New York City Economic Development Corporation to create the NYC Media Lab,” said President Jerry M. Hultin. “The NYC Media Lab is a prime example of academic entrepreneurship, a concept that we at NYU-Poly refer to as i-squared-e: invention, innovation and entrepreneurship. The NYC Media Lab will demonstrate that a university’s great ideas need not live only in laboratories but in the real world. The powerful combination of technology push from academia and market place pull from the City’s media leaders will transfer great research breakthroughs into new commercial products and processes.”

“Columbia enthusiastically embraced the challenge by Mayor Bloomberg and the City to join with our peer universities in New York on the MediaNYC 2020 task force,” said Columbia University President Lee C. Bollinger. “With a Journalism School that trains leaders in the field, an Engineering School that helped develop FM radio, lasers and MPEG technology, and a Business School that is tackling the challenges of a changing media industry, we look forward to contributing a wide range of our intellectual capital to the NYC Media Lab. We share with the Mayor the firm belief that even in the most digital, disaggregated economy, New York City has unique advantages in creating a vibrant, entrepreneurial community where the next generation of media innovation can thrive.”

New York City is home to more than 100 colleges and universities, including nine academic research institutions that annually create over 600 inventions, produce nearly 200 new licenses and options, and generate over $500 million in licensing revenue. The City’s media sector employs more than 300,000 people and produces $30 billion in annual revenue. It also has a significant concentration of startups, many of which are in the new media sub-sector that is expected to expand significantly in the near term, with annual growth rates potentially surpassing 35 percent. Several of the City’s academic institutions currently undertake research on topics of interest to this sector; however, there has not been a facilitator to bring that research together with interested businesses. Many corporations at the intersection of media and technology, including WPP and AOL, are looking for ways to reach an expanding consumer base – including through expanded content distribution and hyper-local coverage – that may be supported by research currently being undertaken in New York City.

“New York City is the media capital of the world and today's announcement by Mayor Bloomberg will ensure that it keeps that title as this industry continues to evolve and innovate,” said AOL Chairman and CEO Tim Armstrong. “The creation of the NYC Media Lab is the perfect collaboration between the private and public sectors and academia to realize the potential of homegrown innovations in this space. At AOL, we recognize the talent, resources and entrepreneurial spirit that's alive here in New York. Earlier this year, we launched our own New York Technology Center with a goal of bringing more engineering into the content business - and making the Internet even more useful than it is today. We’re delighted to join with the Mayor on this announcement and look forward to working with the consortium on the Lab.”

NYC Media Lab will build upon initiatives already launched by the City to foster the creation of new media businesses and technologies and develop and train the sector’s workforce. These include: a network of business incubators for startup companies; the release of City data for software developers and programmers to create digital mobile applications; a seed and early-stage investment fund for technology businesses; a series of workshops to assist startups and small businesses in applying for City IT Contracts and federal research grants; and JumpStart and FastTrac programs to provide support to entrepreneurs launching or growing businesses in New York City.


Stu Loeser/Andrew Brent   (212) 788-2958

David Lombino/Libby Langsdorf (Economic Development Corp.)   (212) 312-3523

Kathleen Hamilton (NYU Polytechnic Institute)   (718) 260-3792

Holly Evarts (Columbia University)   (212) 854-3206

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