Apple hires Sony’s Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg in original content push

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Look out, Netflix and Amazon. After dipping its toe into the water with Planet of the Apps, today Apple announced the latest development in its push into original content. It is hiring Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg, who since 2005 had been co-presidents of Sony Pictures Entertainment, to lead video programming at the company.

We’ve been hearing rumors about Apple’s interest in making original video since the beginning of this year: the idea is to move into original films and series, which would be made available to subscribers of its paid streaming service (currently covering only music and currently only $10/month). This, in turn would help drive more subscribers to the service, and also help generate revenues to offset slowing growth in Apple’s hardware business, specifically its iPhone and iPad sales.

No word on that bigger strategy today. Apple notes the pair will report to Eddy Cue, senior vice president of Internet Software and Services at Apple, and will be working to help realise “exciting plans” in the TV space. 

“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, in a statement. “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.”

Erlicht and Van Amburg are associated with some of the biggest hits in TV over the last few years, and specifically content that has given a huge boost to the over-the-top streaming video market, which competes with pay-TV providers and in many cases has been beating it for audience share and mindshare. Some of the programs that they have overseen include Breaking BadBetter Call Saul, The Crown, and Rescue Me.

“It will be an honour to be part of the Apple team,” said Jamie Erlicht. “We want to bring to video what Apple has been so successful with in their other services and consumer products — unparalleled quality.”

“Apple has a relentless focus on delighting customers with their products,” said Zack Van Amburg. “We will bring that same intention to Apple’s programming and we could not be more excited about what lies ahead.”

Planet of the Apps, a Shark Tank-style show produced by Apple this year, has seen decidedly mixed reviews since being released.

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