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Profile: Rick Portin

Apr 30, 2001  •  Post A Comment

Title: Executive vice president of Steeplechase Media, a digital media company that specializes in creating enhanced and broadband interactive television entertainment.
Background: Before joining Steeplechase in 1998, Mr. Portin was executive producer for Microsoft Interactive Television.
What they do: “We’re developing these niche networks that really couldn’t survive as a whole cable broadcast television network. These are things that are great for this new technology because there’s not as much money involved in them as in a traditional broadcast network. It enables you to create these networks very cost-effectively for a targeted audience, and there’s the ability to provide a lot of targeted advertising and transactions around that.”
How they’re different: “We don’t work like a Web company that just produces the interactive element of the show. We work with the producers, directors and writers of the show. And we also know that the television show is the main star, so anything that’s created on top of that should be minor.”
Working in Hollywood: “I think years ago it was more of a fight, but now it’s a little different. The generation that’s growing up now is growing up with video games and being able to play a video game while they’re watching TV.”
Industry challenges: “[Interactive TV] is a new medium that you want to meld with the current production process. You’re going into the world of television and you’re really adding another layer to something that’s been around for a long time. And people who work in television know how to produce it; it’s a machine. But this is not a machine yet. It takes a lot of trial and error in companies that really know how to work with the television community and work with the technology, which is an unusual blend that we have.”