NYC Media Lab: “Robotics & A.I. are about to become mainstream”

Justin Hendrix,  Executive Director,  NYC Media Lab

Justin Hendrix,
Executive Director,
NYC Media Lab

Exclusive IP&TV News interview with Justin Hendrix, Executive Director, NYC Media Lab.

IP&TV News: Hi Justin. NYC Media Lab obviously likes to stay on the cutting edge. From your perspective, what are the most exciting developments currently underway in broadcasting and home entertainment and why?

Justin Hendrix: I think we are about to see media consumption in the home finally impacted by a few technologies that people have been talking about for years. For instance, virtual and augmented reality, which people have been toying with for years, are now technologies that are on the tipping point of mass commercialization. I now hear media executives in big firms talking about what they might do with the Oculus Rift, for instance, and how it might impact their business model and content production. Of course, it goes without saying that the home is going to be more connected – so we’ll see parts of our homes begin to resemble a media experience more in the future. Finally, I think robotics and artificial intelligence are about to become mainstream – just look at the success of Jibo, a robot developed with a broad array of applications in mind for the home, including media.

Do you notice any specific ways that next gen media technology is changing content itself?

There are many, but I’ll just mention one in particular. The improvement in camera technologies and the simultaneous emergence of global platforms like YouTube have changed the economics of production, and we’re seeing an explosion of content as a result. Companies like Vice and BuzzFeed have shown that it is possible to rapidly get to scale in this new environment, often using very lightweight production and distribution strategies. If the content is great, people will find it, no matter the channel.

Is it fair to say we are living in a post linear broadcast environment, and what does this mean for broadcasters?

Like any business that is competing in an environment where underlying technologies are changing, the key is to take an experimental approach. Test new directions, encourage experimentation, try to make some hypotheses about the future and design methods to explore those hypotheses. The only way to survive the transition is to break it into pieces and iterate as new information becomes available.

How big a role do you think social is going to come to play in TV? Are there any examples of social TV you feel point the way forward?

Social is clearly having a big impact on behaviour on the internet generally – how we find and consume content, whether text or video or other. But it seems that the best examples of the role of social in TV are still event driven – the World Cup, for instance, was a huge success for Twitter, for Facebook, and for ESPN and Univision. We saw a similar dynamic with the Winter Olympics and NBCUniversal. And it seems everyone in the world was talking about Sharknado, for what it’s worth!

What motivates NYC Media Lab to attend TV Xperience?

As a consortium of media companies and universities interested in the future of media, we are always keen to be part of the conversation in the industry. We learn from listening to executives like your attendees – and we hope to bring something to the table as well by connecting industry with the digital media minds in NYC’s universities.

Justin Hendrix will be appearing at this year’s TVXperience (October 13-15 , Convene Center, New York), for booking and more info go here.


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