(Above from left: Moderator Tom Glocer; Jeff Bewkes; Mary Ann Tighe, CEO, New York Tri-State Region, CBRE; Charles Phillips, Jr., Chief Executive Officer, Infor; and Alan Schwartz, Executive Chairman, Guggenheim Partners discuss The Future of New York City. Photo credit: Crain's New York Business.)
Time Warner Chairman and CEO Jeff Bewkes took part in a conference on Wednesday discussing, and called, The Future of New York City. On a panel of business leaders whose other participants represented real estate, technology, and finance, Bewkes spoke about the appeal of New York both as the home of Time Warner headquarters and many of its operations, as well as for a location for many of the company’s television and film productions. Bewkes called New York the “greatest TV and movie set on earth”, and said it remains the media capital of the world and hence the most logical and desirable location for the company. He also acknowledged the challenges New York faces in continuing to be competitive in such areas as housing, taxation and real estate The panel’s moderator, former Thomson Reuters CEO Tom Glocer, noted that technology is playing a bigger role in content-focused businesses like Time Warner (as seen in products like HBO and CNN.com), and ask Bewkes if New York is attracting enough engineers and developers. He replied that the pool of talent has improved a lot over the past five years and the city has a vibrant startup scene, but New York as a city needs to do more to lure technology expertise.
Thanks to all the creative talent and local and state incentives, Time Warner is also investing heavily in production in New York. Warner Bros. is filming six hour-long dramas in the city this season, including Person of Interest on CBS and the Carrie Diaries on the CW. HBO shows Girls and Boardwalk Empire are filmed in NYC, including production in the outer boroughs. (Season 3 of Boardwalk Empire alone employed over 4,000 people.) And a new HBO series, The Leftovers, from Damon Lindelof, one of the creators of Lost, plans to shoot its first season next year around New York.