ERC raising digital media initiative funds, support for government grant |

ERC raising digital media initiative funds, support for government grant

The Nevada County Economic Resource Council is currently raising funds and asking community stakeholders for letters of support and commitment for the group’s proposed digital media initiative, a campus and task force the ERC aims to use as a hub for emerging an existing broadcast and video technology companies in the county.

The ERC launched the campaign several weeks ago, in the hopes of winning a grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce, which will soon be selecting 10 organizations for the $500,000 grants.

“It’s the regional innovation systems program,” ERC Executive Director Jon Gregory said. “One of the three parts of that initiative is their science and research park component … The grants are not for the construction of the facility, but for the feasibility analysis and the planning.”

According to Gregory, the ERC has received 20 letters of support and eclipsed its goal of $350,000 in cash pledges or in-kind time commitments to the American Digital Media Leadership Campus project. Gregory said the ERC will be filing a proposal by Thursday, highlighting key aspects of the project, adding that local support would help increase the group’s chances.

“The purpose of the campaign is to elicit both letters of support or letters of commitment of either cash or in-kind resources that we would be able to include in the grant proposal,” Gregory said. “So that when the folks back in Washington D.C. look at our project in Nevada County, they’re going to say, ‘They’re not just asking resources from us, they’ve got a large number of people in the county that are supportive and involved in the project.’”

The idea for the digital media project emerged at a June ERC lunch meeting with local high-tech CEOs.

According to Gregory, the American Digital Media Campus Leadership task force has since been added to the ERC’s strategic plan as a component focused on contributing to companies in the fields of video technologies, broadcast, satellite, video collaboration, surveillance, security, military and space programs, stabilization systems and new video markets.

“We have this 50-year legacy of video broadcast and digital technology in the area,” Gregory said. “So unlike most rural areas, we’ve got a legitimate case to receive this money. We already have a number of existing technology companies and buildings, so we’re not starting from scratch in finding a facility to use.”

According to data obtained by the ERC, more than 188 million people in the country watched 52.4 billion videos of online content in December 2013, and the average American spent more than 19 hours watching online video. In 2013, 72 million smartphone users in the United States watched video on their devices on a monthly basis, and this is expected to rise to 86.8 million people in 2014, equaling more than a quarter of the nation’s population.

The ERC is currently looking to find a site to house its digital academy campus, which Gregory says will possess world-class video-centric programs, video collaboration labs, training labs, and technology-rich office space. Gregory said the ERC also views the potential space as a company incubator and lab partnership space to collaborate with leaders in the industry.

The grant competition began 45 days ago, and has a formal proposal deadline of Nov. 3. The Department of Commerce will then spend 90 days to review and choose which applicants they will fund. Gregory said that community stakeholders interested in contributing funds, volunteer time, or write a letter of support, should contact him personally by Wednesday.

“I’ve been incredibly impressed and amazed with the can-do attitude with the more than two dozen people that have rolled up their sleeves and put this thing together in less than 30 days,” Gregory said. “We’ve got a great team.”

For more information, call Gregory at 530-518-5733 or email

To contact Staff Writer Ivan Natividad, email or call 530-477-4236.

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