BUSINESS TYPE:Interactive TV developer
JOB TITLE:President and CEO
BIGGEST CHALLENGE:Executing the business plan you have for yourself.
THE NEXT TREND:True integration of interaction in television.
When not in her L.A. office, Caroline Beck can be found on her small Case tractor on her 30-acre Santa Monica ranch.
It’s a low-tech respite from her much higher-tech professional life, where she is helping usher in the interactive TV revolution.
For the past five months, she has led Mixed Signals, turning the company into a middle man for content providers and viewers as games and the Internet start merging onto traditional cable set-top boxes and systems like TiVo.
Having created a name for itself after launching interactive versions of “Wheel of Fortune” and “Jeopardy!” for Sony, Mixed Signals has more recently built a burgeoning client base of content creators, distribbers and iTV platforms that include the Emmys, HGTV, NBC, the Weather Channel, and Walt Disney Imagineering, among others.
In a business where technology is ever changing and missteps are plentiful, Beck appreciates the importance of stepping back and taking in the whole picture.
“From that distance, things change very slowly and you have to train yourself to view them when they occur,” she says.
Part of that perspective comes from experience. She’s worked both sides of the television fence, as chief operating officer of digital subscriner line- and cable-based video-on-demand venture Intertainer. She was also chief operating officer of Sony Picture Entertainment’s Game Show Network, developing interactive programming. She started out at ad giant Chiat/Day, working with Apple Computer, later moving on to work with a young Microsoft.
At Mixed Signals, Beck is using her experience to focus on making couch potatoes happy customers.
The best opportunity technology provides consumers is “improving the general quality of programming and their entertainment experience,” Beck says.
But knowing what customers want with a new technology is tough. That’s the part Beck likes. “The value of being in technology is that it is always changing. You are always a student.”