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NEW YORK CITY-The Bloomberg administration on Tuesday announced eight initiatives to strengthen New York City’s media sector, particularly new media. They’re an outgrowth of MediaNYC 2020, a program launched in February to address the economic challenges facing the industry, which employs nearly 10% of the city’s private workforce.

“New York City is the media capital of the world, but with the industry undergoing profound changes, it’s incumbent on us to take steps now to capitalize on growth opportunities and ensure we remain an industry leader,” says Mayor Michael Bloomberg in a release. The administration notes that many of the large “old media” companies headquartered here are being challenged by entrepreneurs, but much of the new media R&D is occurring outside the city. Another disconnect is in the growth rates projected by old and new media: traditional media are expected to achieve annual growth of less than 1% through 2015, while startups could grow by 35% each year.

To help close these gaps, the eight media-oriented initiatives are intended to increase collaboration among media industry representatives–including both new and traditional media channels as well as universities–to foster innovation and entrepreneurship. They’re also meant to attract and train top talent to maintain New York City’s competitiveness in the global marketplace; and recruit leading foreign media companies and helping locally-based companies expand abroad.

One of these initiatives will focus on developing NYC Media Lab, a research center for media companies and universities along the lines of similar initiatives at Stanford University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The New York City Economic Development Corp. is issuing an RFP this month for partners to develop the lab.

Also this month, the EDC is issuing an RFP to manage the Media and Tech Fellowship, which is to be awarded to approximately 20 “rising star” media and technology entrepreneurs in emerging sub-sectors on an annual basis. The program is expected to launch in October.

The EDC has created the Media Tech Bond Program to help companies purchase new manufacturing, research or production facilities, retrofit existing building to accommodate hi-tech servers, or make large IT purchases. The tax-exempt bond program was made possible by a recent change in federal law, the NYCEDC says.

A pair of city agencies–the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications and the Department of Small Business Services–figure in a start-up procurement initiative that will encourage local start-ups and established firms to team up on bidding for city IT contracts. City agencies will also host Gov2.0 Tech Forums, described as regular briefings on topics including city procurement and evolving IT processes.

In June, Bloomberg announced the launch of NYC BigApps, an annual software competition for individuals or companies with operations in New York City to develop functional digital applications that utilize city data. It’s intended to help stimulate innovation in the technology information and business media sub-sectors and attract and support developer talent in the city and surrounding communities.

To address the lack of affordable workspace and the high cost of specialized equipment for emerging tech sub-sectors, the administration is joining forces with the Downtown Alliance to launch a center for media freelancers at 55 Broad St. in Lower Manhattan. The Alliance will lease and fit out a 5,000-square-foot space at 55 Broad to suit media professionals who need quality workspace on a daily or short-term basis. A $100,000 grant to assist with start-up costs is being furnished by the EDC. The 31-story office tower is already home to an incubator hosted by the New York Software Industry Assoc.

The city is also launching JumpStart New Media, a training program to assist displaced or entrepreneurial junior- to mid-level employees in exploring opportunities in new and digital media. To be launched in September, the program will also provide the city’s media firms and entrepreneurs a pre-screened pool of candidates. The EDC will release an RFP this week to identify an operator for the program.

To help New York City stay competitive within the global marketplace, the administration is looking beyond its borders via a recruitment campaign in emerging markets across Asia and the Middle East, and in Silicon Valley and the greater Boston area. It will look to attract other firms to join the 29 multi-billion-dollar media firms headquartered here. Additionally, the city has launched an online forum at www.medianyc2020.com, with topics to be updated on a weekly basis.

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