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Voices From the Global Village: Jeff Friday and Independent Filmmakers Gary Nadeau and Andrew Fitzgerald among speakers at MCNY 5th Annual Short Film Festival

April 7, 2014

For Immediate Release:

Jeff Friday and Independent Filmmakers Gary Nadeau and Andrew Fitzgerald among speakers at MCNY 5th Annual Short Film Festival

New York, NY – April 7, 2014 – The Metropolitan College of New York School for Business Media Management MBA program is proud to announce that film producer and founder of American Black Film Festival Jeff Friday will keynote the MCNY 5th Annual Media Management Short Film Festival on April 10 in the school’s Conference Center at 431 Canal Street, New York, NY.

While best known for producing groundbreaking events and television like the American Black Film Festival (ABFF) and Black Movie Awards (BMA), Friday regularly provides strategic advisory services to a variety of multinational companies in entertainment and media. Award winning indie filmmakers Gary Nadeau and Andrew Fitzgerald will join Friday on a panel focusing on getting started in the industry and independent filmmaking.

With the theme “Celebrating the Dream,” the festival is a two-day celebration of both the business and creative aspects of the film industry that continues to grow and expand into divergent media fields. Mr. Friday’s keynote and filmmakers panel discussion on April 10 will be followed the next night with the screening and judging of the short film finalist submissions on April 11.

“Since last semester, students have been working on aspects of planning, branding and promoting the festival through various class projects,” says Kristie Velasco, Coordinator of the Media Management MBA Program for MCNY. The festival, which grew out a classroom project, has developed into a platform for burgeoning filmmakers, and provides real time project management experience for the school’s media management MBA students.

“We are excited to be hosting our 5th Annual Festival as part of our celebration of the 50th Anniversary of MCNY and the 30th Anniversary of the School for Business,” says Dr. Tilokie Depoo, Dean School for Business. “We are truly excited to welcome Mr. Friday to speak about his experiences in the film industry and provide insight into challenges facing independent filmmakers and business managers in these rapidly changing fields.”

In 2001, Friday founded Film Life, Inc. One year later he acquired the rights to the Acapulco Black Film Festival, moved it stateside and renamed it the American Black Film Festival (ABFF). With diversity and social responsibility at its core, the festival supports aspiring actors, filmmakers and industry executives in unprecedented ways. Since its inception, the ABFF has showcased more than 800 films, rewarding and redefining artistic excellence in independent filmmaking. Now in its 17th year, it is widely considered the premier international festival for African American and urban content.

The event is free and open to the public. Please contact Prof. Kristie Velasco at kvelasco@metropolitan.edu, or at (917) 719-0293 if you have any questions. Additional information, including winning films from prior years, is available on our website at www.mcny.edu/filmfestival.

ABOUT MCNY

Founded in 1964 by educational pioneer Audrey Cohen, Metropolitan College of New York has been dedicated to helping students achieve their academic dreams for 50 years. The only one of its kind in the country, the one-year ACBSP accredited Master of Business Administration in Media Management at MCNY is a unique Purpose Centered Education program geared towards achievement-oriented, media professionals. The curriculum balances traditional MBA competencies with those particular to the media industry. To accommodate working professionals, classes meet on evenings and weekends. For more information about the school or the Media Management program visit us at www.mcny.edu or call 1-800-33-THINK.

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Voices from the Global Village: MCNY Annual Short Film Festival Announces Winning Festival Poster and Welcomes JAMBOX Entertainment and The IFC Center as Sponsors

April 2, 2013

New York, NY – April 1, 2013 – The Metropolitan College of New York School for Business Media Management MBA program is proud to announce the winner of the Inaugural MCNY 4th Annual Short Film Festival Poster Competition is the submission by Arsenije Catic, a 3rd year undergraduate student of Interaction Design Department at Belgrade Metropolitan University, from Belgrade Serbia.  In addition, they are honored to welcome Jambox Entertainment and the IFC Center among the list of sponsors of this year’s festival.

Kristie Velasco, Program Coordinator of the Media Management MBA Program in the MCNY School for Business said, “This was our first poster competition, and we were excited to receive a number of excellent submissions.  It was close, but this image ultimately was the one our Media Management MBA students voted to represent the MCNY 4th Annual Short Film Festival.  With the theme “Reflections of a Dream,” the festival is a two-day celebration of both the business and creative aspects of the film industry that continues to grow and expand into divergent media fields.  “We usually dream of what we see and what we know. Dreams are abstracts of our imaginations,” said Mr. Catic of his submission.  “My work represents this kind of dream — the dreams that are inward and outward.”

New sponsors have also joined corporate and community sponsors from past years in support of the students in their organizing efforts.  JAMbox Entertainment was founded by Lee Evans, whose many accomplishments include work with singers Marc Anthony, Cyndi Lauper, Harry Belafonte, The Force M.D.s, Brass Construction, Rainy Davis, Afrikaa Bambaataa and a long list of dance Hip Hop and Latin freestyle favorites from the ‘80’s and early 90’s including artists Cyre, and The Cover Girls.  Working with MCNY as a mentor and site supervisor for student internships at his recording studios, Mr. Evans said, “JAMBOX Entertainment is proud to be a sponsor of the MCNY 4th Annual Film Festival! We have always been a supporter of up and coming artists in the field pursuing their dreams. The MCNY Short Film Festival provides a much-needed platform for aspiring filmmakers to show their work, build their network, and meet professionals in their field. What a great opportunity!”

Opened in June 2005 in the historic Waverly Theater, The IFC Center, the ultimate entertainment space for New Yorkers seeking out the best in independent film, has joined the number of community and corporate sponsors of the festival and has joined Jambox Entertainment in underwriting some of the prizes for the festival.   The festival, which grew out a classroom project, has developed into a platform for burgeoning filmmakers, and provides real time project management experience for the school’s media management MBA students.

Integral in the MCNY Purpose Centered Education teaching model is our Constructive Action, where in the MBA Programs, students conduct extensive business research, plan and begin implementing new media ventures in a myriad of fields.  As in past years, the Festival is proud to welcome Throwbax and Grave Shift Studios to join returning Soi66 on the list of student companies supporting the Festival as sponsors as well.

MCNY 4th Annual Media Management Short Film Festival is scheduled for 6-9pm on April 4 and 5 in the school’s 11th Floor Conference Center at 431 Canal Street, New York, NY, and will include a Keynote address by film and television executive Peter Anthony Andrews on Thursday, April 4 followed by the screening of the short film finalists on Friday April 5. The event is free and open to the public.  Additional information, including winning films from prior years, is available on our website at www.mcny.edu/filmfestival.

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Voices from the Global Village: Television and Film Executive, Peter Anthony Andrews, to keynote MCNY 4th Annual Short Film Festival April 4 and 5 2013

March 17, 2013

The Metropolitan College of New York School for Business Media Management MBA program is proud to announce that trailblazing film and television executive Peter Anthony Andrews will keynote the MCNY 4th Annual Media Management Short Film Festival on April 4 in the school’s Conference Center at 431 Canal Street, New York, NY.

Mr. Andrews has over 40 years of experience in the theatre, television and motion picture industries, and is one of the most storied executives in the history of the film and television industries, having served as Vice President of Prime Time Programming at NBC, Senior Vice President of Columbia Pictures, Executive Vice President of MGM Studios and production consultant on the Civil War epic, “Glory”, starring Denzel Washington, Matthew Broderick, and Morgan Freeman.

With the theme “Reflections of a Dream,” the festival is a two-day celebration of both the business and creative aspects of the film industry that continues to grow and expand into divergent media fields.  The organizers are also excited to be conducting their inaugural student Annual Short Film Festival Poster Competition, accepting submissions from students for the official poster of the festival.  Mr. Andrews keynote on April 4 will be followed the next night with the screening and judging of the short film finalist submissions on April 5.

“Since last semester, students have been working on aspects of planning, branding and promoting the festival through various class projects, as well as soliciting sponsors and film submissions from national and international filmmakers,” says Prof. Kristie Velasco, Coordinator of the Media Management MBA Program for MCNY.  The festival, which grew out a classroom project, has developed into a platform for burgeoning filmmakers, and provides real time project management experience for the school’s media management MBA students.

“The festival has become an annual opportunity for students to get practical hands on experience in the business and management of planning and producing a multi-day film festival with a global reach,” says Dr. Tilokie Depoo, Dean School for Business.  “We are truly excited to welcome Mr. Andrews to speak about his experiences in film and television and provide insight into challenges facing filmmakers and business managers in these rapidly changing fields.”

Mr. Andrews has represented several major clients in finance, distribution, marketing and packaging content for global exploitation in all markets and media and is the founder and former director of the Warner Brothers Women and Minority Writers Workshop, the longest running and most successful workshop for writers in Hollywood history.  He currently runs Table 21 Films, an independent film production company that develops and produces narrative and documentary films.

The event is free and open to the public.  Please contact Prof. Kristie Velasco at kvelasco@metropolitan.edu, or at (917) 719-0293 if you have any questions.  Additional information, including winning films from prior years, is available on our website at www.mcny.edu/filmfestival.

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Voices from the Global Village: Media Management MBA and Emergency and Disaster Management MPA programs collaborate to host/stream live SMARMIE conference on February 28, to discuss developing “Humanitarian Technologies”

March 4, 2013

On February 28, over 200 social media professionals and emergency managers converged on MCNY for the first annual SMARMIE  conference to hear speakers from around globe discuss the latest uses of social media networks as “Humanitarian Technologies” for emergency disaster planning and management.  Filmed and streamed live by faculty, students and alumni of the Media Management MBA Program, the day’s panelists included Dr. Patrick Meier, Director of Social Innovation at the Qatar Foundation’s Computing Research Institute, an internationally recognized thought leader on the application of new technologies for crisis early warning, humanitarian response and resilience; Phil Harris, CEO of Geofeedia a special social media search and discovery service location that helps emergency responders perform situational nearness by location by establishing geo-fences around physical locations and gathering all social media from those locations in real-time; Kim Stephens, the lead blogger of iDisaster 2.0 which focuses on the benefits as well as the challenges the emergency management community face when employing new information communications technologies; and Jeff Phillips, a local Emergency Manager in New Mexico and former Chief of Response and Recovery at the New Mexico Dept. of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (NMDHSEM) who developed and utilizes the Virtual Operations Support (VOST) concept of recruiting, organizing and tasking ‘trusted agents’ to perform as social media and new technology ‘force multipliers’ in emergency operations, among others.  (The full list of conference speakers and their bios is available at www.smarmie.com.)

Recognizing the rapidly advancing and developing role that social media industries play in emergency and disaster response planning and management, SMARMIE began as an idea for additional collaborative learning opportunities forged between the Emergency and Disaster Management MPA Program and the Media Management MBA Program.  It was believed that, by bringing together leaders in emergency response, social media and government, a synergistic dialogue could be encouraged where the collective expertise could be shared and potentially leveraged and lead to an advantage afforded to individuals and communities responding to a myriad of emergencies and disasters.

Utilizing our Purpose Centered Education teaching model, our Media Management MBA students had been studying and exploring the substantive issues integral to this inaugural SMARMIE event through live case studies in a number of their classes since last fall.  At the same time, they have and continue to work with our Emergency and Disaster Management students on guiding the EDM students’ development of social media marketing campaigns and videos that inform about the critical necessity of business continuity planning in anticipation of disasters.  Through this process our students have been able to engage in practical application of the substantive business or emergency management concepts learned in their Dimension classes to develop real life tangible projects that might address these critical needs via their Constructive Action.

In the School for Business Media Management MBA Program, our mission is to provide students with the business skills, management tools and substantive expertise necessary to be at the forefront of emerging media trends, to navigate changes in the industry and to provide leadership to successfully take these companies into the future, while never losing sight of our own responsibility to the larger society and the ever changing media environment. The ­first of its kind in the nation, and the our curriculum is oriented towards a practitioner-based learning model where management theories are fully integrated within the curriculum and students are expected to complete their degree with a tangible outcome, developed through hands on and field learning via the Constructive Action.

Similarly, the School for Public Affairs and Administration MPA Program in Emergency and Disaster Management is an advanced degree program that opens new career tracks for recent college graduates as well as for those looking to change careers, and further develops the knowledge base of professionals already working in the fi­eld. This highly specialized degree covers the planning, management, logistics, response, relief, recovery and economics associated with managing emergency situations.

Our students continue to collaborate on other projects where the substantive learning naturally overlaps.

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Voices From the Global Village: Upcoming events and internship opportunities

October 15, 2012

We are well into mid semester and I wanted to touch base with everyone to be sure that there are no issues and that everyone is proceeding with successfully progressing in their studies. Anyone who is having any issue with your studies or any other school related matter should make an appointment or email me as soon as possible.

I also wanted to bring a number of items to your attention:

1. There is an amazing internship opportunity for a student interested in gaining first hand experience in researching and developing a business plan and developing a marketing strategy for a new clothing manufacturing company. The Internship will require about 8 hours per week with a degree of flexibility about how those hours are met. Students that are interested should forward me their resume in an email indicating their interest ASAP.

2. The Cable Center is the nonprofit educational arm of the cable industry, dedicated to: Preserving and celebrating cable’s enduring contributions to society; Building bridges between cable and higher education; and Bringing together industry participants to share ways we can better serve our customers. Every year they hold a conference on the Cable Industry where students can hear from executives, learn about job opportunities and internships, and even participate in speed-dating style mock interviews with hiring managers in the industry. This year’s conference is scheduled for October 26, at the Paley Center in New York City. Participation is available for FREE to graduate and undergraduate students, but registration is required. For more info go to http://www.cablecenter.org/cable-mavericks-main-menu/masters-forum-one-day-degree.html.

3. There is an Internship Panel open to students hosted by NAMIC (National Association of Multi-Ethnicity in Communications on November 13. Students must scroll to the bottom of the page after clicking on their Events button to RSVP on the NAMIC Events Page.

4. Students also have the opportunity to join the Grammys and Emmys at Student Rates. Anyone interested in joining the Grammys or the Emmys can drop by my office in 1124 on Tuesday afternoon/early evenings for more information.

5. We are co-hosting a conference with the Emergency and Disaster Management MPA program on November 8, 2012 from 8:30-5pm at the school to discuss the interrelationship between social media and emergency response management. Please spread the word.

Check out the SMARMIE website for more information. We need volunteers for the day of the conference to assist in the filming and production of the event. Students interested in participating should email me ASAP so we can get you plugged into the event.

6. We have scheduled the 4th Annual Short Film Festival for April 4 -5, 2013 at the school. We will begin holding organizational meetings shortly to begin planning for the event. As has been in the past, students are involved in every aspect of the development, planning, organizing and production of the Festival. Anyone interested in participating in the film festival should email me indicating their interest so that I can be sure to send you a notice when we schedule the first meeting. A notice of when we will begin accepting submissions will also be sent out within the next two weeks.

We will keep you informed with additional information as it becomes available.  Have a great semester!

Prof. Kristie Velasco, Coordinator, School for Business MBA Media Management Program

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RIP Adelaide Smith, MCNY School for Business, Media Management MBA, Class of 2011

September 28, 2012

To members of the MCNY Community:

It is with great deep sadness and personal regret that I report the passing of MCNY School for Business Media Management MBA alumnus Adelaide Smith, who died from complications of Congestive Heart Failure Wednesday night after collapsing last Sunday evening.

As many may not be aware, Adelaide was committed to her studies in the Media Management MBA program and extensively planned her move to NYC back in 2007 from Chicago after graduating from DePaul University. She often expressed that after raising her children and putting them through Ivy League graduate schools, she decided that it was time to return to school to get her BA and MBA and that with the knowledge in Media and Business that she would acquire studying in our program, she would be able to have a positive impact on the media and the lives of underprivileged communities with the hope of empowering her community through her Constructive Action venture Universal Sustainable Enterprises, LLC.

A diagnosis with Congestive Heart Failure interrupted her studies in 2008 and forced her to move out to California with her daughter to recuperate, but she made sure to tell me that she would return to complete her Media Management MBA degree when she was able. It took two years, but in 2010, Adelaide returned, and although it was often difficult to balance her medical condition, personal obligations and her studies, Adelaide made it a point to return to the school to proudly display her new MCNY Alumni identification and report how proud she was to have accepted her MBA from Drs. Thompson and Depoo in 2011. Those of us who knew Adelaide personally will smile and not be surprised to hear that she also informed me at that time of her detailed long term plans to redesign the layout and overall look of the actual identification card to be more fitting with the “proper stature of the program and school.”

Adelaide stayed connected to the Media Management program, often returning to inform us of whatever project she was working on at the moment and to offer any assistance that she might be able to give. She actively assisted in soliciting sponsors for last year’s Film Festival and vigilantly attended every event that was held by the School for Business. The last time we spoke this summer, she wanted marketing data about the Media program and the film festival, informing me that it was her intention to secure a corporate naming sponsor who could underwrite the long term institutionalization of the film festival.

Our condolences go out to her family and friends. The viewing and services will be held at the House of Hills Funeral Home at 1000 St. John’s Place in Brooklyn on this Sunday, September 30, 2012.

Viewing will begin at 4 p.m., followed by a service at 7 p.m.

Burial will be conducted on Monday.

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Voices from the Global Village: Oscar® nominated Sam Pollard to speak at MCNY 3rd Annual Short Film Festival April 12, joins filmmakers Danielle Lurie, Parris Moore, and Ritika Hiranandani to speak April 13; sponsors line up to support the Festival.

April 2, 2012

Award winning and Oscar® nominated filmmaker Samuel Pollard, is confirmed to join Danielle Lurie, Parris Moore, and Ritika Hiranandani as speakers at the Metropolitan College of New York’s 3rd Annual Short Film Festival on April 12 and 13 from 6-9pm in the school’s Conference Center at 431 Canal Street, New York, NY.

This year’s festival, with a theme of New Faces in Film, continues to grow and gain the support of established entertainment industry leaders and corporate and community sponsors. MCNY is proud to welcome Essence, Tourism Malaysia, Subway, Little Kingdom, Cinematiq, Lords Bakery, Soi66 and Yamerra as they join returning sponsors Kraft and the Crosby Collective to support the efforts of our Media Management MBA students in organizing this year’s festival.

About the Panelists:

Sam Pollard is an accomplished film and video editor and a documentary producer/director whose work spans almost 30 years. He began his career in 1989 with Eyes on the Prize II: America at the Racial Crossroads and received an Emmy® for an episode he produced. Between 1990 and 2000, Pollard edited a number of Spike Lee’s films: Mo’ Better Blues, Jungle Fever, Girl 6, Clockers, Bamboozled and received an Oscar® nomination for 4 Little Girls. He recently won his sixth Emmy® for best editing on the HBO documentary By the People: The Election of Barack Obama. His most recent film, Slavery By Another Name, premiered on PBS in February of this year.

Slavery By Another Name — Director: Samuel Pollard

Parris Moore, who holds an MBA in Media Management from MCNY, produced the film Black Ninja, and is a Producer of the film Kinyarwanda, which debuted at Sundance in 2011 and was released in theaters by the AFFRM in December 2012. The film won the World Cinema Audience Award in the Dramatic Category in Sundance and was nominated for 3 NAACP awards. Kinyarwanda is based on true accounts from survivors who took refuge at the Grand Mosque of Kigali and the madrassa of Nyanza during the Rwandan genocide. It recounts how the Imams opened the doors of the mosques to give refuge to the Tutsi and those Hutu who refused to participate in the killing.

Kinyarwanda — Producer: Parris Moore

Danielle Lurie has been named as one of Filmmaker Magazine’s ’25 New Faces of Independent Film,’ and a fellow of IFP’s 2011 Emerging Visions symposium. Her debut short film, In the Morning, premiered at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival, and has won nine film festivals to date, including ‘Best Narrative Short’ at the Oscar® qualifying Nashville Film Festival. On the narrative side, Danielle has written screenplay adaptations of Jamaica Kincaid’s novel, Lucy, to star Zoe Saldana (Avatar, Star Trek) as well as an excerpt of Nicholas Kristof’s best selling book, Half the Sky, directed by Marisa Tomei and Lisa Leone, for a PBS series. Danielle is also adapting another Nicholas Kristof NY Times article into a full-length screenplay that she will direct titled Usha, set in the slums of India. She is also attached to direct the film adaptation of Marina Budhos’s book Ask Me No Questions, produced by Jane Startz.

In the Morning — Writer/Director: Danielle Lurie

Ritika Hiranandani is an independent filmmaker and distributor serving US and Bollywood markets. She is President and CEO of Atlantic-Crossing LLC, a technical services company that offers software-consulting services to corporate clients including Western Union, Godrej, National Stock Exchange of India, Tata, and Videocon. Through her most recent company, Atlantic Crossing Productions, she partners with leading international television and film production and distribution companies and broadcasters who have been involved in producing motion pictures, soap operas, reality television, game shows, tele-films, title animations and related software for companies ranging from NBC to Turner Broadcasting as well as numerous production, advertising, public relations and media companies in both the US and India. Her recently distributed films include Lava-Kusa: Warrior Twins, and Bruce-The Challenge.

Lava Kusa: Warrior Twins

The festival, which is organized and planned by students in the Media Management MBA program, provides opportunities for experiential learning where students can engage in practical applications of theoretical topics learned in class. “We are honored to host these accomplished film professionals to speak with our students and guests at the Festival and provide a forum for them to share their insights and wisdom on becoming future business leaders and navigating this rapidly changing time of convergence, globalization and digitization in the film industry,” says Kristie Velasco, Adjunct Professor & Coordinator, Media Management MBA Programs for MCNY.

The event is free and open to the public. Information is also available on our school Facebook page at www.facebook.com/mcnyedu.

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Voices From the Global Village: Media Management MBA Program Coordinator/Adjunct Professor Kristie Velasco has been awarded a research grant by MEIEA®!

January 18, 2012

As part of their 2011-2012 cycle of Research Grants, the MEIEA® Grant Award Committee has approved awards for the 2011-12 academic year. Among the recipiants were Storm Gloor (University of Colorado, Denver), Monica Herzig (Indiania University), and Kristie Velasco (Metropolitan College of New York). (http://www.meiea.org/)

The Music and Entertainment Industry Educators Association (MEIEA®) is an international organization that was formed in 1979 to bring together educators with leaders of the music and entertainment industries. The primary goal of MEIEA® is to facilitate an exchange of information between educators and practitioners in order to prepare students for careers in the music and entertainment industries.

In April, 2011, the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS) announced that it would be restructuring the categories for the Grammy Awards distributed each year for music recordings in the industry. Pronounced as part of an evolution process begun in 2009, the number of the categories that are awarded in 2012 will be decreased to 78 from 109. Working with MCNY MPA/MBA, Media Management grad Nathasha Cresap, the MEIEA® grant will defray the costs to conduct research and develop a conceptual paper providing a legal, statistical and socio-economic/political impact analysis of the restructuring of Grammy award categories by NARAS.

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SAVE THE DATE: MCNY 3rd Annual Short Film Festival — April 12-14, 2012!

January 11, 2012

MARK APRIL 12-14, 2012 on your calendar as the MCNY 3rd Annual Short Film Festival organized and sponsored by the Media Management MBA Program.

The MCNY Media Management MBA Program will host its 3rd Annual Short Film Festival on April 12, 13 and 14. The theme of this year’s festival is “New Faces in Film” and plans for the three days include panel discussions and networking opportunities with entertainment and media industry leaders, prizes, raffles and film screenings as well as awards for the Best Festival Short Film and the Best MCNY Student Festival Entry.

Begun as a live case study class project in one of the Media Management classes in 2009, the festival is quickly becoming an established event for the entire MCNY community as it continues to grow in size and provide hands on learning opportunities for our Media Management MBA students.

The first of its kind in the nation, the MCNY Media Management MBA program remains the only one year accelerated specialized MBA program in Media Management, fusing the study of general MBA core competencies in economics, finance, marketing, operations, management, and accounting with intensive exploration of media specific fields essential for effective media management. Located in the shadow of the Tribeca Film Festival, MCNY’s Media Management MBA program provides students with the tools necessary to successfully navigate the unique nuanced business, operations and management characteristics of the media and entertainment industries by providing students with a comprehensive analytical overview of the media industries including entertainment law, new media, broadcast, film, music and publishing industries, media marketing, advertising & public relations, arts administration & cultural heritage management, and media theory.

The Festival will begin accepting short film entries shortly. For additional information follow our Twitter accounts or contact Prof. Kristie Velasco, Program Coordinator.

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Voices from the Global Village: The Students Speak — Chris Figueroa “Video Chatting in Commerce”

January 4, 2012

The future of digital media: the evolution of video content on the web.

The day is coming when video chatting over the Internet to do business will be as common as walking into a store and starting up a conversation with an employee. By sitting in front of a computer, with a couple clicks on a mouse or keypad, you will be able to instantly engage a company employee who will appear on your screen and ask “Hi, how I can I help today?” It’ll be face-to-face “human” interaction, except that it will be done by hundreds of thousands of ones and zeros blasting through cyber space to replicate your image on the other end of the webcam. While it may not compare to the tactile experience of walking into a store, holding a product in your hands and trying it out, or purchasing it on the spot and then being able to take it home with you, a customer will still have the ability to “enter” a store and talk to staff about products and costs. This is where the future of digital media is headed and fast!

The fact is many businesses are already selling exclusively through the Internet without their customers having to physically walk into a store to purchase products. E-commerce is booming with companies like Amazon revolutionizing how the economics of supply and demand. However, it’s obvious that video- to-video chat functions are a growing trend.

Recently Facebook added a video-to-video chat feature to their text chat function. Now you can go on Facebook and video chat with your friends, family and social networking buddies just as if you were using Skype, iChat or any other kind of video-to-video program. This is good for Facebook because it gives you another reason why you can just stay on their site to video chat instead of going elsewhere. Google has taken it a step further by allowing Google + users to video chat with up to ten friends at a time, all while watching YouTube videos simultaneously. It’s called a “Google Hangout” and I will admit it’s fun but it’s only the beginning. If Google were smart they would add the ability for users in a “Google Hangout” to view Internet webpages together and seamlessly without having to send websites links back and forth to each other to review.
IChat and Skype already have this feature it’s called a “screen share” but it’s slow and IChat and Skype obviously don’t have all the other things such as the whole social networking aspect that “Google +” and “Facebook” have.

It won’t be long before this feature can become tool to help lead the way for companies to do business and make money in the future. However, three issues must be considered for there to be widespread adoption of video to video chat functions in retail commerce:

First, mobile broadband with which we are most commonly familiar, 3g, 4g etc., cannot keep up with the rapid growth and usage of mobile devices, mobile technologies and other digital media consumption – especially not if we are regularly engaged in video-to video chat encounters. This is one of the reasons why Apple’s new Facetime will only be available through a Wi-Fi connection until 4g, 5g, or 6g can catch up.

The second reason is that, with no economies of scale, video-to-video chat functions are still fairly expensive to provide on a mass basis to individuals. For example, to run a large scale video-to-video chat function on a website requires expensive software, like the Adobe Flash Interactive Media Server, which can cost around $4,600 dollars and up and that doesn’t even include the thousands of dollar in frequent updates that are required to keep the system running bug free. The major players in the industry can afford this cost easily but don’t forget the high cost of bandwidth and server space based on the amount of users and traffic for a specific site. These costs can reach in the tens of thousands without video-to-video chat functions; just image the cost when you factor in this feature.

The third reason is people are still hesitant with the idea of doing business in a video-to-video format. Being on a webcam, one on one with a stranger, to buy something or inquire about a product is something that most people might still find a little awkward. When you walk into a store you’re still in public so there are usually other people around and you feel more comfortable interacting with an employee that is a stranger to you. But when you’re on a web cam, it’s a little bit more personal, it’s more one on one, more face to face and the comfort zone of being in public is just not there. Regardless, as video-to-video chat functions become more and more common and more generally accepted as a norm in society then you will start to see more websites providing video-to-video services to conduct business. Once the major websites and businesses start doing it then you’ll start to see everyone else follow their lead.

Regardless of trepidations about the how, what and where, the important thing to keep in mind is this kind of video-to-video chat feature on the web is only the beginning. Because of this, I have decided to start my own e-commerce business, which will launch shortly. The business will be fully online and Internet based, and one of the key features that set us apart from our competition is… Yep you guessed it, a video-to-video chat feature that will allow business to run smoother, instantly and more relevant to the Internet age that we live in. It make sense to me and that is exactly why I’m betting on the fact that you will see a lot more companies using video-to-video chat to add a nice feature and function to their websites and business models.

Chris Manhattan Figueroa
CEO of Amy’s List
MBA Student and Internet Entrepreneur

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Posted by MCNY Media Management Blog in Constructive Action, Media Management Students, Uncategorized, Voices from the Global Village. Comments Off

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