Apple is bringing some new blood to lead the struggling Apple TV division. According to Bloomberg, the company has hired former Amazon Fire TV head Timothy Twerdahl to focus on hardware, while Pete Distad, the former Hulu executive who previously ran the division will now focus on content deals.
Twerdahl spent nearly four years at Amazon, after joining the company's Fire TV unit in 2013. Prior to that, had years of experience with hardware and TV projects, including three years at Palm, two at pre-Google Motorola, half a year at Netflix, and almost two years at Roku. Now at Apple he will report to Greg Joswiak, a vice president in charge of marketing for the iPhone, according to the report.
The Apple TV represents a slice of the company’s “other products” revenue category, which generated just more than 5 percent of Apple’s sales in fiscal 2016. The hiring comes at a time when the media streamer has struggled to gain much traction. The last hardware update for the Apple TV was released in 2015, with sales dropping year-over-year from the 2015 holiday quarter to the 2016 holiday quarter.
Compared to competing boxes from Roku and from Amazon, the Apple TV is considerably more expensive at $149, yet the device is still stuck at 1080p when rivals are offering 4K and HDR. On the content side Apple released a new TV app that can search and display content from various sources, which combined with its single sign on feature promised a seamless TV experience — in practice, however, the absence of some key services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video severely limited its potential.