SAN FRANCISCO — A start-up created by a Hollywood powerhouse to tailor television for smartphone lifestyles announced Wednesday that its chief will be Silicon Valley veteran Meg Whitman.
Whitman will start in March as the top executive at NewTV, a “mobile-first media platform” being nurtured into existence at WndrCo.
WndrCo was created by former Walt Disney Studios chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg, who will serve as chairman of Los Angeles-based NewTV, the company said in a statement.
“NewTV is one of the most disruptive and timely ideas I’ve come across during my career,” Whitman said in the statement.
“I share Jeffrey’s vision that top-quality programing tailored to our mobile lifestyles is the next big touchpoint in entertainment.”
Whitman added that she was “thrilled to be employee number 1.”
Whitman, one of the most prominent women in Silicon Valley and a onetime candidate for California governor, recently stepped down as chief executive of Hewlett Packard Enterprise.
She kept a seat on the board at HPE, one of the firms created in the 2015 breakup of Hewlett Packard. Whitman joined HP in 2011.
Whitman was credited with leading a “turnaround strategy” as the computer company strived to adapt to trends in using mobile devices and cloud-based services for personal and work computing.
She also engineered a split between the HP enterprise unit, HPE, and the personal computer and printer business HP, Inc., that became a household name but faced increasingly fierce competition.
Whitman, 61, was the top executive at eBay from 1998 to 2008 and has been a key figure in the male-dominated tech industry. She is also listed among the wealthiest women in tech.
She ran unsuccessfully as the Republican nominee for governor of California in 2010, losing to Jerry Brown.
Katzenberg’s vision for NewTV, which was said to be a working name for the company, involved high-quality shows custom-designed to be consumed in “bite-sized” formats of 10 minutes or less.
“Imagine a mobile subscription platform, with library content at its foundation, to deliver content on demand to smartphones,” Katzenberg, 67, said at a Wall Street Journal technology conference late last year.
“Everything has to be redone from scratch. You cannot take an episode of Game of Thrones and chop it into six pieces; it would be terrible.”
Katzenberg said he has commitments from “major Hollywood players” to make content for the platform. — AFP