Katherine Oliver

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Katherine Oliver
Headshot - Commissioner Katherine Oliver - Photo credit Wendy Moger-Bross.jpg
Born Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, NY
Occupation media and entertainment executive
Title Commissioner, NYC Mayor's Office of Film, Television & Broadcasting; President & General Manager, NYC Media Group

Katherine Oliver is an American media and entertainment executive based in New York City. On August 1, 2002, she was appointed by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg as the Commissioner of The New York City Mayor's Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting, which facilitates all aspects of film, television and commercial production in New York City, coordinating on-location filming, liaising with the community and promoting the City as an entertainment capital.[1] Oliver is the main liaison between the Mayor's Office and Hollywood and "aims to make filmmakers and production companies happy to return to New York."[2] In 2013, Oliver and Mayor Bloomberg were featured on the cover of Variety and were credited for their role in "revitalizing the city's entertainment sector."[3] An economic impact study released by the Boston Consulting Group in 2012 found that New York City's entertainment industry during Oliver's tenure as film commissioner had grown to account for a $7.1 billion annual direct spend in New York City, an increase of $2 billion since 2002, and that the local industry created 30,000 jobs in New York City since 2004, growing to employ 130,000 people.[4] AM New York noted that: "New York's film and TV industry is stronger than it has ever been, pumping $7.1 billion into the local economy in 2011 and bringing in some $60 billion over the last decade."[5] After Bloomberg announced that former president and co-founder of NYC Media Group Arick Wierson was returning to the private sector,[6] Bloomberg named Oliver as the incoming president of NYC Media and general manager of NYCTV. In July 2010, Oliver became the commissioner of the Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment,[7] the city agency that includes the Mayor's Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting, NYC Media, and NYC Digital.

New York City's Entertainment Industry[edit]

Production levels have increased dramatically since Oliver's appointment as film commissioner. Between 2002 and 2011, television production in New York City grew by 82% while the number of primetime episodic dramas based in the City increased from only 9 series in the 2001-2002 TV season to 25 series in 2012-2013.[8] In 2012, TV drama production in New York City increased by 37% while it decreased in Los Angeles by 20%.[9] The growth in production has also been a boost to the local economy with on-location filming bringing money into the local economy and attracting tourists who are inspired to visit the settings of the shows they see on screen.[10]

At the start of her appointment as commissioner in 2002, Oliver immediately updated the way permits were issued, doing away with electric typewriters and reducing permit process wait times. In later years, an online permit system was developed, allowing any production with Internet access to apply for location requests, eliminating the need to visit the office in person to obtain permits.[11] Oliver also emphasized customer service and implemented measures that would make it more cost effective to film in New York City, like the "Made in NY" Marketing Credit[12] – free advertising in subways, buses and on Taxi-TV for qualified productions in exchange for a donation made to a local cultural institution – and a discount program lessening the cost of goods and services for films and TV shows in the City at 1,000 participating businesses.[13]

Filmmakers responded to the open access and additional services. According to HBO executive Bruce Richmond, "Location shoots, especially in a city the scale of New York, have their complexities, so you always want an engaged mayor's office. That's exactly what we've seen with Mayor Bloomberg's team."[14]

In a 2013 Fast Company article, Oliver was described as "rejuvenat[ing] an entire industry, helping to grow New York's content economy."[15]

Marketing, Education, and Workforce Development[edit]

To distinguish productions that filmed at least 75 percent of their projects in New York City, Oliver teamed up with @radical.media, a NYC-based media company, to create the "Made in NY" logo. "It kind of looks like an old New York City subway token, and we thought this is our mark of distinction, and every project that qualifies will display it proudly. It really led to a grassroots initiative where people in the industry were kind of vying for this status."[16] In 2013, the "Made in NY" logo was expanded to also include digital companies and startups that had at least 75 percent of their development based in New York City.[17]

Throughout Oliver's time as commissioner of the Mayor's Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting, and later the Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment, the agency developed a number of programs to help New Yorkers gain access into the entertainment industry, including a free series of career panels[18] and the "Made in NY" Production Assistant Training Program, which, with the nonprofit Brooklyn Workforce Innovations, prepares unemployed and underemployed New Yorkers for entry-level jobs on sets and in productions offices. Approximately 96 percent of the program graduates are people of color, and "Made in NY" PAs have worked on over 2,000 productions.[19]

Oliver has also championed educational initiatives and assisting the next generation of filmmakers to develop their talents. In collaboration with the Department of Education and Tribeca Film Institute, Oliver and her team developed the Blueprint for Teaching and Learning in the Arts: The Moving Image, a guide that outlines expectations for the study of film, TV and animation from early elementary school through high school graduation.[20] A scholarship fund was established for students attending New York City College of Technology and pursuing a baccalaureate degree in the entertainment technology field; the fund was made possible through a donation from Teamsters Local 817 in support of the Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting.[21] In 2012, it was announced that the Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment would invest in the new Brooklyn College Graduate School of Cinema at Steiner Studios. "We have an obligation as an economic development agency to train and retain people of the industry," said Oliver.[22] Tuition is expected to cost less than half that of most graduate film programs in the U.S.[23]

Digital Communication and the City's Media Channels[edit]

In 2011, with the rise of social media and the shift to digital content creation, Oliver established New York City's first digital media office, NYC Digital, and named Rachel Haot as the City's Chief Digital Officer. [24] Oliver tasked NYC Digital with streamlining digital communication across City agencies; strengthening partnerships with the City's technology and digital media industries; and creating the Roadmap for the Digital City, an overview of all of New York City's current and forthcoming digital initiatives.[25] The report demonstrates the strides the City has made to date, driven by a vibrant technology industry, a strong social media presence, infrastructure improvements and historic investments in education.[26] As of summer 2012, 80 percent of the objects had been completed, including connecting more New Yorkers to free Wi-Fi in public spaces, increasing the City's digital reach through social media and online communications and supporting the City's digital sector.[27]

In 2008, Oliver and the Mayor's Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting helped launch Internet Week New York with the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences.[28] The annual festival of events highlights New York City's Internet and digital industries, bringing together companies, organizations and innovators to discuss the future of digital media.

During Oliver's time overseeing NYC Media – the network of television stations, radio station and online video player operated by the City of New York – has produced Emmy Award-winning content[29] and new seasons of "$9.99" and "Secrets of New York." [30] NYC life is watched by more than 1.5 million households each week. NYC Media's Video-on-Demand Player, which includes an extensive collection of short form, episodic programming and special presentations focused on service, culture, food, history and other New York City-centric content, is available online and via the NYC Media app, which was launched in 2011.[31] Content from the player is watched by nearly 800,000 users per month. The app also allows users to receive notifications in order to watch live mayoral press conferences.

"Made In NY" Media Center[edit]

To better foster creativity and collaboration between filmmakers and digital companies, Oliver and her team have established the "Made in NY" Media Center. "We were also watching the trends of the entertainment and media industries, and it became clear that New York City was quickly becoming home to numerous startups and digital companies," said Oliver.[32] The center will provide affordable workspace and offer education courses, workshops and networking events and will connect production companies with local startups. Operated by IFP and located in DUMBO, Brooklyn,[33] the ribbon was cut at the Center on October 1, 2013.[34]

Bloomberg L.P.[edit]

Prior to her appointment as Commissioner, Oliver was the General Manager of Bloomberg Television and Radio, reporting directly to Michael Bloomberg. She was responsible for expanding the Bloomberg brand through the creation of global television and radio services. She launched and managed 9 international business TV channels and 5 radio services in multiple languages worldwide. She hired, trained and managed a staff of 650 in 25 cities and established sales, marketing and distribution teams in Europe, Asia and Latin America as well as North America. Oliver also worked as a radio and television reporter and anchor at Bloomberg, CNBC, FNN and WBGO Radio.

Honors, Memberships, and Academia[edit]

For her contributions to the entertainment industry, Oliver has been recognized with the National Academy of TV Arts & Sciences Leadership Award (2005),[35] the Matrix Award (2006),[36] the Nielsen Impact Award (2008),[37] the John A. Reisenbach Foundation Distinguished Citizenship Award (2008),[38] the NYC College of Technology Foundation Best of NY Award (2009)[39] and by the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce (2012) as a leader in New York City's television industry.[40] She has also been honored as a Lighthouse International Light Year Honoree in 2008.[41] The Advertising Club of New York presented Oliver with a Star of Madison Ave Award in 2013 for her efforts working with the advertising industry in New York City. [42] In December 2013, Oliver will be honored with an industry tribute award at the 23rd Annual Gotham Independent Film Awards. [43]

Oliver is a member of the board of the Independent Filmmakers Project,[44] the New York Academy of Medicine,[45] the Center for Communications, the Museum of the Moving Image,[46] the New York Pops (ex officio member),[47] the Paley Center for Media (ex officio member),[48] the Springboard Media-Tech Council[49] and NYC & Company, the official marketing, tourism and partnership organization for the City of New York (ex officio member).[50] She has also served on the boards of the International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences and the NY Television Festival. Additionally, Oliver is a member of the Woman at NBCU Advisory Board[51] and @PaleyCenter Boardand the Women's Forum, Inc.[52] Oliver also taught a journalism course at New York University as well as in Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs graduate program.[53]


  1. ^ http://www.nyc.gov/html/mome/html/home/home.shtml
  2. ^ http://variety.com/2013/biz/biz/oliver-1200375839/
  3. ^ http://variety.com/2013/scene/spotlight/variety-fetes-mayor-michael-bloomberg-and-katherine-oliver-1200414859/#1/mayor-bloomberg-praises-katherine-oliver/
  4. ^ http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/new-york-city-60-billion-spent-tv-film-bloomberg-321679
  5. ^ http://www.amny.com/urbanite-1.812039/new-york-s-entertainment-industry-is-stronger-than-ever-report-1.3707048
  6. ^ http://www.nyc.gov/cgi-bin/misc/pfprinter.cgi?action=print&sitename=OM&p=1242423391000 Statement By Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg On The Resignation Of Nyc Media Group President And General Manager Arick Wierson
  7. ^ http://www.crainsnewyork.com/article/20100730/FREE/100739979
  8. ^ http://www.amny.com/urbanite-1.812039/big-apple-is-becoming-the-new-hollywood-for-a-list-tv-production-report-1.4970645.
  9. ^ http://www.crainsnewyork.com/article/20130127/MEDIA_ENTERTAINMENT/301279969
  10. ^ http://www.crainsnewyork.com/article/20130317/MEDIA_ENTERTAINMENT/303179981
  11. ^ http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/new-york-film-tv-office-244586
  12. ^ http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118052300.html
  13. ^ http://www.moviemaker.com/news/top-10-cities-moviemaker-2013/
  14. ^ http://variety.com/2013/biz/features/bloomberg-1200375168/
  15. ^ http://www.fastcompany.com/3018991/digital-hollywood/the-leading-lady-behind-nycs-revitalized-entertainment-business
  16. ^ http://blogs.villagevoice.com/runninscared/2012/01/media_and_enter.php
  17. ^ http://pandodaily.com/2013/02/19/bloombergs-parting-gift-to-nyc-tech-an-online-hub-to-make-doing-tech-in-ny-easier/
  18. ^ http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/11/19/well-tell-you-how-to-get-to-sesame-street/
  19. ^ http://www.brooklyneagle.com/articles/steiner-studios-%E2%80%98hollywood-east%E2%80%99-expands-facilities
  20. ^ http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/nyc-promotes-arts-alliances-schools-90105
  21. ^ http://livedesignonline.com/news/made_in_newyork_scholarship_winners_1008
  22. ^ http://www.crainsnewyork.com/article/20121220/EDUCATION/121229987
  23. ^ http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118063894/
  24. ^ http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/media/2011/01/1219167/city-gets-chief-digital-officer-rachel-sterne
  25. ^ http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/01/24/city-picks-entrepreneur-to-lead-digital-efforts/
  26. ^ http://www.nyc.gov/html/digital/html/roadmap/roadmap.shtml
  27. ^ http://thenextweb.com/us/2012/08/23/new-york-unveils-2012-digital-roadmap-comprehensive-plan-embrace-digital-grow-ny-tech/
  28. ^ http://news.cnet.com/8301-13577_3-9957814-36.html
  29. ^ http://www.nyc.gov/html/media/html/news/nycmediawinsat2012nyemmys.shtml
  30. ^ http://articles.nydailynews.com/2011-06-21/entertainment/29704352_1_kung-fu-kelly-choi-nyc
  31. ^ http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/12/nyregion/videos-by-the-hundreds-as-city-agencies-ride-the-app-wave.html
  32. ^ http://variety.com/2013/biz/features/gotham-1200380484
  33. ^ http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/new-york-unveils-new-media-378333
  34. ^ http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/made-ny-media-center-opens-startup-space-article-1.1473404
  35. ^ http://www.nyc.gov/html/nycmg/downloads/pdf/nyctv_natas_10-17-05.pdf
  36. ^ http://www.nywici.org/matrix/matrix-hall-fame
  37. ^ http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/nielsen-impact-honors-oliver-mumbai-121057
  38. ^ http://reisenbachfoundation.org/about/past-honorees/
  39. ^ http://www.citytech.cuny.edu/aboutus/newsevents/archivednewsevents/2008-2009news/BoNY_honor09/index.shtml
  40. ^ http://www.ibrooklyn.com/news/newsarticledisplay.aspx?ArticleID=53
  41. ^ http://www.lighthouse.org/news/press-releases/lightyears-gala-to-benefit-lighthouse-international/
  42. ^ http://www.theawsc.com/2013/09/24/the-advertising-club-of-new-york-honors-luncheon-recap-and-insights/
  43. ^ http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/gotham-awards-honor-nyc-film-601837
  44. ^ http://www.ifp.org/about/staff
  45. ^ http://www.nyam.org/about-us/trustees/
  46. ^ http://www.cencom.org/cms-display/our_board.html
  47. ^ http://www.newyorkpops.org/board-and-founders
  48. ^ http://www.paleycenter.org/about-leadership-board-of-trustees/
  49. ^ http://www.springboardenterprises.org/about/mtc
  50. ^ http://www.nycgo.com/articles/nyc-company-board-of-directors
  51. ^ http://womenatnbcu.com/advisory-board-members/katherine-oliver/
  52. ^ http://www.womensforumny.org/index.cfm/members/
  53. ^ http://www.columbia.edu/cu/bulletin/uwb/subj/PUAF/U6427-20131-001/

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