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19 June 2017

Apple hires the Sony TV executives behind Breaking Bad, The Crown

Apple hopes to have the shows like Better Call Saul on its service.

NETFLIX is about to get a very powerful competitor, with Apple making its largest push to date for original television programming.

As part of its plan to enter into the crowded online streaming service market, the iPhone manufacturer has poached two long-time Sony Pictures Television executives responsible for some of the most widely acclaimed programming of the past decade.

Having served as presidents for Sony Pictures Television since 2005, Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg played an instrumental role in developing the likes of Breaking Bad, The Crown and Better Call Saul.

Apple’s senior vice president of internet software and services Eddy Cue said the company hoped to benefit from the addition of the two men, who more than tripled Sony’s slate of original prime time series under their leadership.

“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,” he said in a statement.

While the company did not elaborate on its strategy, it hinted that it will be looking to increase its original content from the karaoke shows and app development-based TV already on its $10-a-month streaming service, Apple Music.

“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.”

It’s unclear if Apple will create a separate service to its music streaming platform.

It’s unclear if Apple will create a separate service to its music streaming platform.Source:Supplied

Having created programming for a wide range of services including Amazon, Hulu and Netflix, Mr Erlicht said he was looking forward to the challenge of working with Apple.

“It will be an honour to be part of the Apple team,” he said.

“We want to bring to video what Apple has been so successful with in their other services and consumer products — unparalleled quality.”

Mr Van Amburg echoed his colleagues sentiments.

“Apple has a relentless focus on delighting customers with their products,” he said.

“We will bring that same intention to Apple’s programming and we could not be more excited about what lies ahead.”

A late push into the competitive world of online streaming might have its challenges, but Apple has an advantage to help its cause — a wide distribution and advertising platform from the one billion iPhones, iPads and other devices that run the tech giant’s mobile operating system.

Moody’s analyst Gerald Granovsky said a ploy to create its own original content and secure licensing deals for an expansive library would be cheaper than to buy a pre-existing content company.

“From a credit perspective, we’d much rather see Apple overpay to deliver original content than pay $50 billion to buy Netflix and basically compete for the same content,” he told News Corp. “They’ll definitely get a better bang for their buck by focusing on their Apple TV product.”

Mr Greenfiel said hiring the Sony execs proved Apple did not have interest in acquiring Walt Disney Co like rumours had suggested.

“It’s pretty clear now that Apple isn’t buying Disney,” he said.

Would you join an Apple streaming service? Continue the conversation in the comments below or with Matthew Dunn on Facebook and Twitter.

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