Apple looks like it wants to breath some new life in its Apple TV business. The company recently hired Timothy D. Twerdahl, the former head of Amazon’s Fire TV team, to be its new vice president of Apple TV product marketing.
Bloomberg reports that Twerdahl joined Apple earlier in February. He was the head of the Amazon Fire TV division since 2013. He also has held jobs at Roku and Netflix, so he clearly has a ton of experience in the streaming TV set-top business. The story also states that the previous head of Apple TV marketing, Pete Distad, will now take on the job of helping to secure content deals, and will report to Eddy Cue.
The fact that Apple has hired someone with as much experience as Twerdahl to lead the Apple TV business is clearly a sign the company wants to get more serious about this division. Many years ago, Apple TV was described as a “hobby” by its late co-founder Steve Jobs. The division is still much smaller than its iPhone, iPad or Mac businesses. Its revenue is lumped in with the Apple Watch, iPod, and other hardware devices that the company reports in its “other products” category, which covers just over 5 percent of Apple’s total yearly sales.
The company no longer discloses specific unit sales of the product. The last such update came in March 2015, when current Apple CEO Tim Cook claimed that it had sold a grand total of 25 million Apple TV devices since the first generation launched in 2007. However, there’s been quite a few streaming set-top boxes that have entered the market since that time, including the Fire TV and Fire TV Stick. Amazon also does not disclose sales of those products, but it did claim in May 2016 that the Fire TV was the best selling streaming device in the US.
With the addition of Twerdahl to the team, we can expect more marketing and promotion money to go towards the Apple TV in the coming months. There are also rumors that Apple is trying to secure exclusive TV shows that it could show on the set-top box, much like how Amazon shows exclusive shows via its Amazon Prime service and which can be streamed via its Fire TV devices.