Turning 10, NY1 Gets $30M New Home


New York 1, the local-news network serving the Big Apple, will not only have a new look, but a new location this week.

The service, one of AOL Time Warner Inc.'s fiveregional news networks, will begin originating from its new, 55,000-square foot facility in the Chelsea section of Manhattan this Monday, Jan. 28.

NY1 and its parent have invested $30 million in the new headquarters, dramatically renovating the four-studio space and equipping it with state-of-the art digital technology, according to NY1 senior vice president and general manager Steve Paulus.

In conjunction with the move to the new quarters, NY1 will receive an on-air facelift that includes a new on-screen "bug" for its logo, new graphics and animation, plus fresh music and sets for its programs.

"It was time to refresh the look," Paulus said.

New York 1, the first of Time Warner's 24-hour local news channels, turns 10 years old this year. It had been ensconced in 25,000 square feet at 10th Avenue and 42nd Street in Manhattan before relocating to its new digs at the Chelsea Market — a former Nabisco cookie factory that's been converted to a retail, wholesale and office complex.

NY1, which joins the women's-targeted cable network Oxygen and Major League Baseball Productions at the Chelsea Market, has a 15-year lease for the space where Home Box Office's gritty series Oz
used to film.

Another cable programmer, Food Network, had also been slated to rent space for a test kitchen and studio at Chelsea Market, a plan unveiled in late 1999. But at this juncture, Food Network has shelved that plan.

The news service's move, once scheduled for Oct. 22, was delayed by the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.

NY1's graphic changes include a theme repeated in promos — the screen is divided into five vertical sections, symbolizing New York City's five boroughs, according to Paulus.

The redesigned graphics, created with the help of the company Attik, also incorporate blue and yellow. The motif of the vertical bars, and the blue-and-yellow color scheme, is repeated in the anchor desk backdrop and in the other studios.

And just as NY1 broke ground in 1992 when it had its reporters shoot their own stories, it plans to pioneer the use of new equipment in Chelsea. NY1, which now reaches about 2 million subscribers, was born in an analog environment.

But at its new headquarters, reporters will bring in their tapes and submit them to a so-called "media-management" center, to be fed directly to file servers.

Using that system, and by retrieving their material from the server, reporters can start editing their segment directly from desktop computers, Paulus said. That process will trim an inordinate amount of time from the editing process, and will serve as a model for Time Warner's other local news networks, according to Paulus.

The system uses equipment from four vendors — Pinnacle Systems Inc., Omnibus, AP ENPS and Vertigo — for servers, editing systems and control systems.

"We created this system with a series of vendors to suit the needs of a 24-hour local news channel," said Time Warner Cable senior vice president of programming John Newton, who oversees all the regional news outlets. "The days of the cart machine are over. This is a whole new iteration of this technology."

In addition to New York City, Time Warner has news channels up and running in Tampa and Orlando, Fla.; Rochester, N.Y., and Austin, Texas.

This year, Time Warner plans to start work on or launch six more channels. The first is scheduled for mid-March in Raleigh, N.C.. It will debut using the same new media-management system as NY1.

Time Warner is also planning local news channels for Charlotte, N.C.; Syracuse and Albany, N.Y.; and San Antonio and Houston, Texas. The new Charlotte service and two Texas operations are being done in partnership with broadcaster Belo.NY1 is still basking in the success of its coverage of Sept. 11 and its aftermath, and the local news channel is often mentioned in public remarks by outgoing AOL Time Warner CEO Jerry Levin and co-chief operating officer Richard Parsons, Levin's successor.

"It's important we live up to their standards," Paulus said. "We're a showcase."