Apple hires industry heavyweights to make content less rubbish

Apple has announced the hire of Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg, who join from Sony Pictures Television where they have served as presidents since 2005.

The pair will report into Eddy Cue, Apple’s SVP of Internet Software and Services, in newly created positions overseeing all aspects of video programming. Erlicht and Van Amburg certainly have a good track record to date, taking responsibility for such shows as ‘Breaking Bad’, ‘Better Call Saul’, ‘The Crown’ and ‘Rescue Me’, as well as 36 Emmys.

“Jamie and Zack are two of the most talented TV executives in the world and have been instrumental in making this the golden age of television,” said Cue. “We have exciting plans in store for customers and can’t wait for them to bring their expertise to Apple – there is much more to come.”

This is certainly a good move from Apple. To date, efforts to make original content have not exactly been hitting the top notes.

‘Planet of the Apps’ is the iChief’s first crack, and it wasn’t great. Essentially, it was a rip-off of ‘Dragon’s Den’ in the UK, or ‘Shark Tank’ in the US, but the pitches were specifically for tech entrepreneurs to put forward their ideas to a celebrity-filled panel. We thought it was cheesy, cringeworthy and barely tolerable as a TV show. And we weren’t the only ones to think so.

Variety: “Apple’s first offering, ‘Planet of the Apps’, feels like something that was developed at a cocktail party, and not given much more rigorous thought or attention after the pitcher of mojitos was drained.”

Guardian: “It’s painful to watch these would-be tech magnates make stilted speeches about why the world needs their app, only to watch them get remorselessly cross-questioned by celebrities who parlayed their success in entertainment into careers in business.”

It’s a story which we have seen far too often. Companies attempt to leave the comfort of their core business to grab onto new revenues and profits, but hash it up. The main issue here seems to be execution. The iLeader has not put forward a particularly original idea, and may not have hired the manpower to make it in the glitzy and cut-throat world of content production.

That said, bringing in Erlicht and Van Amburg is certainly a step in the right direction, and will hopefully provide the iBoss with a needed boost.

New research from Ericsson has the number of worldwide mobile users at more than 5 billion, though the mature markets are not going to see much growth. The US has adoption of 80%, while Europe stands at 86% and China with 78%. Considering the premium nature of the iPhone, the growth areas for mobile in Africa or India will not suit its current business model.

To continue with the attractive profit margin Apple has become used to over the last couple of years, diversification is required; the software and services area has been earmarked to compensate for the stagnated mobile growth. However, if ‘Planet of the Apps’ is anything to go by, it might be a very tricky road for Apple to negotiate.

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