>> Variety / TV News
NBCU freshens up New York
Film and TV boost city economy, study finds
By: Gordon Cox
Posted On: May. 8, 2012
NBCUniversal will pour $190 million into a two-year initiative to renovate and upgrade its Gotham outposts, including its Rockefeller Center HQ.
On the to-do list is the sprucing up of the 1.2 million square feet of space in 30 Rock as well as tech upgrades to all NBCU facilities in Manhattan, such as the company's 245,000 square feet at 1221 Avenue of the Americas. The technology updates will include a state-of-the-art studio control room and new broadcast origination tech, among other improvements.
NBCU, which counts some 4,600 full-time employees in the city, expects renovations to continue through early 2014. All the work will be environmentally sustainable, incorporating energy efficient lighting and windows as well as new heating systems.
NBCUniversal chief exec Steve Burke was on hand at 30 Rock Tuesday with other Peacock execs and Bravo stars Cat Cora and Curtis Stone to announce the plan and knock down a wall to begin construction on a new two-story commissary. "The food's going to be great," Burke promised.
NBCU exec veep Patricia Fili-Krushel said the Peacock is "upping the ante in its decades-long relationship with New York" with the renovation plan.
NBCU's announcement piggybacked on the release of a new study centering on the economic impact of the film and TV industry on Gotham, according to which film and TV prompted $7.1 billion in direct spending in the city in 2011, up by $2 billion since 2002.
Findings of the study, announced in the "Saturday Night Live" studio at 30 Rock, noted that Gotham jobs in film and TV were up by 30,000 since 2004, with a spike in TV productions -- spurred in part by attractive tax incentives from the state -- contributing to 82% of that growth.
Film production, on the other hand, has fluctuated over the last 10 years as states battled it out with incentive offers, but last year New York City film activity came in at its highest level for the decade with about 12,000 jobs and $1.4 billion in spending generated.
Study by the Boston Consulting Group also looked at digital media, advertising and publishing, estimating that the media sector generates more than $80 billion in direct revenue every year in Gotham.