Apple hires former YouTube, Spotify exec to further video content ambitions

Posted:
in General Discussion edited March 31
According to a report published Thursday, Apple has hired Shiva Rajaraman, a former YouTube and Spotify executive, to help architect a video content strategy as it takes on established industry players like Netflix.




Citing people familiar with the matter, The Information reports Rajaraman will work under Apple SVP of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue on a variety of projects.

The former product manager brings years of experience to the job according to his LinkedIn profile. After working at YouTube for some eight years, then more recently at Spotify between 2014 and 2016, Rajaraman is now being tasked with shaping Apple's video strategy, the report said.

"At different times, he ran every individual part of the YouTube team," a former colleague told The Information.

In addition, Rajaraman helped YouTube strike content partnerships with the likes of Disney. He participated in similar activities while at Spotify, including the licensing of video content from Disney, Time Warner and NBC, as well as the advancement of internal initiatives like the app's Discover feature. Rajaraman also worked on nurturing alternative content like podcasts while at Spotify.

At Apple, Rajaraman will work on "the look and feel" of Apple Music, the portal through which the company intends to publish original video content. So far, Apple has announced two original shows in "Planet of the Apps" and "Carpool Karaoke," the latter of which is expected to debut next month in a new Apple Music section called "TV & Movies."

Whether Cue intends to tap Rajaraman for other projects under his purview, like Siri and Apple Maps, remains to be seen. Sources who currently work on the Siri team believe the product specialist might see involvement with Apple's virtual assistant, the report said.

Apple has long been rumored to field original content akin to offerings from Amazon and Netflix, with most rumblings centered around on the company's Apple TV product. While Apple was at one time expected to launch a so-called "skinny bundle" over-the-top streaming service, negotiations with content owners have so far been fruitless.

The Cupertino tech giant is slowly dipping its toe into original programming by coproducing "Planet of the Apps," a weekly reality series modeled after popular shows like "Shark Tank" in which independent developers from around the world pitch their apps to a panel of "mentors." Jessica Alba, Will.i.am, Gwyneth Paltrow and Gary Vaynerchuck will help guide contestants through a development process that will end with a pitch to venture capital firm Lightspeed.

Apple is also partnering with "Late Late Show with James Corden" producer Ben Winston on "Carpool Karaoke." Unlike the short snippets that air on CBS, Apple's version of the show pairs musicians, actors, sports stars and other pop culture personalities together as they take a road trip. In March it was revealed that "Game of Thrones" stars Maisie Williams and Sophie Turner would star in their own upcoming segment.

Offering insight into Apple's take on original content, Cue in an interview last month said the company is open to producing, partnering and backing projects that tap into the current zeitgeist. Apple Music, he said, should generate pop culture, not be a simple conduit for content consumption.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 19
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 26,168member
    Meh.
  • Reply 2 of 19
    irelandireland Posts: 16,530member
    Be it aggressively compete with Netflix or be it never compete with Netflix. Netflix is where it's at. Independent content producers want to be on Netflix. Apple should have been that guy. Apple has two choice in this space, as I see it. Either acquire Netflix or several of their key people and build their own Netflix or use other key people or buy another outfit and build their own Netflix. POTA & CK are garnish, in comparison. Netflix may not be making much money right now—I'm unsure, but it is the future. Until Apple builds a service that has me convinced I need to switch from Netflix to it, they have a problem. A streaming subscription is the only future for video content. Anything that isn't that is a distraction.

    I still say (if they could pay to keep all of Netflix's contracts; and they are not short of money) Apple should bite the bullet and acquire Netflix. Leave Netflix to continue to run independently and Apple can focus on great hardware (and a better remote) and great video content apps (a Netflix company culture weakness). Then eventually rebrand Netflix "Apple TV"—the service, and offer it for $9.99 per month (get rid of the other two plans) and have Apple Music for the same price as now of $9.99 per month, but offer a special price for subscribing to both services simultaneously from Apple's hardware platforms for $15.99, or something crazy. And offer a bundle price of $59 a month or something that includes a free Apple Television (that somehow perhaps uses a hardware-update-able puck equivalent as its brains). And still sell the puck for those who'd rather pay less or have a different TV or are not in the market for a new TV or who'd rather pay for the television hardware up front. Apple needs some very new ideas like this. Something to put Apple TV on the hardware map and themselves in the living room in a big way. And go from there. Wake up, Cook. Content is a-knockin'.
    edited March 31 propod
  • Reply 3 of 19
    rogifan_newrogifan_new Posts: 1,582member
    Can he just replace Eddy and then Tim poaches someone else to run Apple's cloud business.
    irelandyojimbo007patchythepirate
  • Reply 4 of 19
    MacProMacPro Posts: 16,187member
    I have always thought Apple should 'dip its toe' in a Youtube like project.  It could be linked in to iMove and Photos with Share.  It should be free with no ads.  As one example of the type of material I am envisaging, the sheer volume of program training material on YouTube alone shows it isn't all about cat videos (not that I mind cat videos) and Apple users represent a lot of folks that would use training material as well as create it.  Obviously there are many other examples of the types of material that would flourish, travel, how to and so on.  There is no reason users' 'channels' couldn't be monetized as with Youtube but without ads through the Apps store model with Apple taking a 30% cut as users pay a small fee for access, plus in app except this would be 'in video' purchases could be easily added for more content.  If the costs were very low like many apps, I think it would flourish.  Lynda et alia training prices are too high for many.
    edited March 31
  • Reply 5 of 19
    MacProMacPro Posts: 16,187member
    ireland said:
    Be it aggressively compete with Netflix or be it never compete with Netflix. Netflix is where it's at. Independent content producers want to be on Netflix. Apple should have been that guy. Apple has two choice in this space, as I see it. Either acquire Netflix or several of their key people and build their own Netflix or use other key people or buy another outfit and build their own Netflix. POTA & CK are garnish, in comparison. Netflix may not be making much money right now—I'm unsure, but it is the future. Until Apple builds a service that has me convinced I need to switch from Netflix to it, they have a problem. A streaming subscription is the only future for video content. Anything that isn't that is a distraction.

    I still say (if they could pay to keep all of Netflix's contracts; and they are not short of money) Apple should bite the bullet and acquire Netflix. Leave Netflix to continue to run independently and Apple can focus on great hardware (and a better remote) and great video content apps (a Netflix company culture weakness). Then eventually rebrand Netflix "Apple TV"—the service, and offer it for $9.99 per month (get rid of the other two plans) and have Apple Music for the same price as now of $9.99 per month, but offer a special price for subscribing to both services simultaneously from Apple's hardware platforms for $15.99, or something crazy. And offer a bundle price of $59 a month or something that includes a free Apple Television (that somehow perhaps uses a hardware-update-able puck equivalent as its brains). And still sell the puck for those who'd rather pay less or have a different TV or are not in the market for a new TV or who'd rather pay for the television hardware up front. Apple needs some very new ideas like this. Something to put Apple TV on the hardware map and themselves in the living room in a big way. And go from there. Wake up, Cook. Content is a-knockin'.
    I hear you but I am not sure Netflix would thrive under Apple nor would have ever become as successful had Apple bought them earlier.  It's not in Apple's DNA, to continue to thrash that expression to death.  
    StrangeDays
  • Reply 6 of 19
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 999member
    Based on recent subscribers numbers, Apple seem to have good hold on streaming music business. Now, comes streaming video, next frontier and Apple must win it.
  • Reply 7 of 19
    MacProMacPro Posts: 16,187member
    wood1208 said:
    Based on recent subscribers numbers, Apple seem to have good hold on streaming music business. Now, comes streaming video, next frontier and Apple must win it.
    I agree, see my post above yours, would you concur?
  • Reply 8 of 19
    irelandireland Posts: 16,530member
    MacPro said:
    ireland said:
    Be it aggressively compete with Netflix or be it never compete with Netflix. Netflix is where it's at. Independent content producers want to be on Netflix. Apple should have been that guy. Apple has two choice in this space, as I see it. Either acquire Netflix or several of their key people and build their own Netflix or use other key people or buy another outfit and build their own Netflix. POTA & CK are garnish, in comparison. Netflix may not be making much money right now—I'm unsure, but it is the future. Until Apple builds a service that has me convinced I need to switch from Netflix to it, they have a problem. A streaming subscription is the only future for video content. Anything that isn't that is a distraction.

    I still say (if they could pay to keep all of Netflix's contracts; and they are not short of money) Apple should bite the bullet and acquire Netflix. Leave Netflix to continue to run independently and Apple can focus on great hardware (and a better remote) and great video content apps (a Netflix company culture weakness). Then eventually rebrand Netflix "Apple TV"—the service, and offer it for $9.99 per month (get rid of the other two plans) and have Apple Music for the same price as now of $9.99 per month, but offer a special price for subscribing to both services simultaneously from Apple's hardware platforms for $15.99, or something crazy. And offer a bundle price of $59 a month or something that includes a free Apple Television (that somehow perhaps uses a hardware-update-able puck equivalent as its brains). And still sell the puck for those who'd rather pay less or have a different TV or are not in the market for a new TV or who'd rather pay for the television hardware up front. Apple needs some very new ideas like this. Something to put Apple TV on the hardware map and themselves in the living room in a big way. And go from there. Wake up, Cook. Content is a-knockin'.
    I hear you but I am not sure Netflix would thrive under Apple nor would have ever become as successful had Apple bought them earlier.  It's not in Apple's DNA, to continue to thrash that expression to death.  
    I hate that expresssion too. It's a bullshit expression. But I do agree with your point.
  • Reply 9 of 19
    Once an incumbent is firmly entrenched, like YouTube and Netflix, it's really hard for a newcomer to gain any traction. There would have to be a compelling reason for users -- both producers and consumers -- to embrace a new platform when the existing ones already work well. What's going to motivate someone to search AppleTube for a video when they can already find everything they could ever want on the services they're used to using? Similarly, why would I bother posting my own content there when a large audience is already conditioned to search the incumbents?

    Obviously it is *possible* to offer an experience that is better than what the existing services provide, and that may sway users, but simply offering a "Me, too" alternative to what's already out there isn't likely to be successful.

    Maybe it's my age -- I'm 54 -- but the two examples so far of what Apple can produce don't strike me as being able to win very many converts. Apple will need to do better than re-edited sing-alongs and reality nerds to make a dent.
  • Reply 10 of 19
    Applemusic to distribute movie/video content... why? Its convoluted. 
    Didnt they learn anything from the mess  Itunes is...

    If the intent is to create incentives to subscribe to apple music, fine be it... ..Subscribe to Apple music and u get access to video content through the video/movie channel...not Apple music..

    Imagine Game of Thrones is an Apple original .... but u dont find it in movies... you have to go to Apple music to access it... its stupid..

    At least change the name from Applemusic To Apple entertainment.... or sometging more general.  Then have subs catagories under.... 

    imo.. Eddies mind is a bit convoluted...  or im missing something here.... 

  • Reply 11 of 19
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 26,168member
    ireland said:
    Be it aggressively compete with Netflix or be it never compete with Netflix. Netflix is where it's at. Independent content producers want to be on Netflix. Apple should have been that guy. Apple has two choice in this space, as I see it. Either acquire Netflix or several of their key people and build their own Netflix or use other key people or buy another outfit and build their own Netflix. POTA & CK are garnish, in comparison. Netflix may not be making much money right now—I'm unsure, but it is the future. Until Apple builds a service that has me convinced I need to switch from Netflix to it, they have a problem. A streaming subscription is the only future for video content. Anything that isn't that is a distraction.

    I still say (if they could pay to keep all of Netflix's contracts; and they are not short of money) Apple should bite the bullet and acquire Netflix. Leave Netflix to continue to run independently and Apple can focus on great hardware (and a better remote) and great video content apps (a Netflix company culture weakness). Then eventually rebrand Netflix "Apple TV"—the service, and offer it for $9.99 per month (get rid of the other two plans) and have Apple Music for the same price as now of $9.99 per month, but offer a special price for subscribing to both services simultaneously from Apple's hardware platforms for $15.99, or something crazy. And offer a bundle price of $59 a month or something that includes a free Apple Television (that somehow perhaps uses a hardware-update-able puck equivalent as its brains). And still sell the puck for those who'd rather pay less or have a different TV or are not in the market for a new TV or who'd rather pay for the television hardware up front. Apple needs some very new ideas like this. Something to put Apple TV on the hardware map and themselves in the living room in a big way. And go from there. Wake up, Cook. Content is a-knockin'.
    I understand that the contracts with the studios would not survive the sale of Netflix, so even though they are developing more and more original content it would be a skeletal selection compared to their current lineup.
  • Reply 12 of 19
    MacPro said:
    ireland said:
    Be it aggressively compete with Netflix or be it never compete with Netflix. Netflix is where it's at. Independent content producers want to be on Netflix. Apple should have been that guy. Apple has two choice in this space, as I see it. Either acquire Netflix or several of their key people and build their own Netflix or use other key people or buy another outfit and build their own Netflix. POTA & CK are garnish, in comparison. Netflix may not be making much money right now—I'm unsure, but it is the future. Until Apple builds a service that has me convinced I need to switch from Netflix to it, they have a problem. A streaming subscription is the only future for video content. Anything that isn't that is a distraction.

    I still say (if they could pay to keep all of Netflix's contracts; and they are not short of money) Apple should bite the bullet and acquire Netflix. Leave Netflix to continue to run independently and Apple can focus on great hardware (and a better remote) and great video content apps (a Netflix company culture weakness). Then eventually rebrand Netflix "Apple TV"—the service, and offer it for $9.99 per month (get rid of the other two plans) and have Apple Music for the same price as now of $9.99 per month, but offer a special price for subscribing to both services simultaneously from Apple's hardware platforms for $15.99, or something crazy. And offer a bundle price of $59 a month or something that includes a free Apple Television (that somehow perhaps uses a hardware-update-able puck equivalent as its brains). And still sell the puck for those who'd rather pay less or have a different TV or are not in the market for a new TV or who'd rather pay for the television hardware up front. Apple needs some very new ideas like this. Something to put Apple TV on the hardware map and themselves in the living room in a big way. And go from there. Wake up, Cook. Content is a-knockin'.
     Netflix is a well run company.  They had the vision to transition away from their core business of DVD's to streaming when DVD's still reigned supreme. They were then precariously perched as they were completely dependent on licensing others' content.  Wisely, they have been building up their own content, e.g., will spend $6 billion dollars this year on it, so they are at the point where people like me watch Netflix for their originals as much as anything else.  Amazon has jumped on this bandwagon big time as well.

    The point to keep in mind, however, is that there is no secret sauce here.  Netflix and Amazon don't have their own studios and locked in talent like the hollywood studios of old. They are primarily just bidding for talent, and there is a serious question as to whether Netflix's business model will allow them to raise prices enough to keep up with the rising costs.  (ESPN is experiencing the same problem of having to pay huge amounts for sports rights, but facing difficultly with having revenue keep up with those costs). If Apple jumps into the game as another bidder,  Netflix is in serious trouble because while Amazon can, and Apple could, afford to use tv and movie exlcusives as a "loss leader" to incentivize people to sign up for other services, Netflix only has the one revenue model.  

    Amazon is all in and willing to lose lots of money  (e.g., the losses on the Echo have been over a billion dollars) as it has been its entire history as it has focused on stock prices, unlike Apple who has been focused more on products and profits since the early days of Jobs.  Therefore, it's entirely consistent for Apple to experiment with some original content to see how it might incentivize folks to sign up for a larger service.  They are also undoubtedly hugely concerned that if they are seen as a big content producer, that other content producers will be even more reluctant to license them content or not support ATV, e.g., would Netflix boycott ATV as Amazon has?

    In sum, the 50 to 60 billion dollars Apple would have to spend to buy Netflix just doesn't make sense.  Apple could easily use much less to spend on its own original content or licensing deals without taking on the risks that owning Netflix would bring.

  • Reply 13 of 19
    Once an incumbent is firmly entrenched, like YouTube and Netflix, it's really hard for a newcomer to gain any traction. There would have to be a compelling reason for users -- both producers and consumers -- to embrace a new platform when the existing ones already work well. What's going to motivate someone to search AppleTube for a video when they can already find everything they could ever want on the services they're used to using? Similarly, why would I bother posting my own content there when a large audience is already conditioned to search the incumbents?

    Obviously it is *possible* to offer an experience that is better than what the existing services provide, and that may sway users, but simply offering a "Me, too" alternative to what's already out there isn't likely to be successful.

    Maybe it's my age -- I'm 54 -- but the two examples so far of what Apple can produce don't strike me as being able to win very many converts. Apple will need to do better than re-edited sing-alongs and reality nerds to make a dent.
    It's not your age, it's your misunderstanding of how the internet is rapidly "commoditizing" so many products and the impact that has.  Once something has been commoditized where one product is like another, like music streaming and soon video streaming, the main differentiator is price.  That's why  all of the music streaming companies have ridiculously low prices--they all know that most of their customers will flee to a lower price service. Unfortunately, companies like Amazon, Google and Apple can afford to lose money  on music streaming and simply use it as a tie in to their other profit points.  Hence, Spotify is not likely to survive much longer as they continue to hemorrhage money and ring up huge losses without a reasonable path to profitability and are hanging on to make it to an IPO and cash out in sale to someone else.  

    Now video streaming is evolving toward the same situation. 
    Youtube survives because it is free, and it has a billion users, but Google still is losing money on it. Users aren't loyal to it and could switch with the click of a mouse to another site if that content is available elsewhere. Or they get tired of being tracked by Google.
    Netflix is far from entrenched.  Viewers can easily switch with a click to other services.  They are surviving on licensing deals when competition was much less.   Netflix is trapped because they don't have revenue streams other than subscribers and most of their content is available elsewhere so if they raise their prices too high, it is easy to switch. As more entrants come on board, e.g., Verizon, Netflix will be even in a more shaky situation as they compete with sites like Amazon, Verizon, Google, Apple, etc., that viewers already use, to bid on new content and licensing deals. Each of Netflix's competitors can afford to lose money on video streaming, Netflix can't.  

    edited March 31
  • Reply 14 of 19
    bitmodbitmod Posts: 94member
    wood1208 said:
    Based on recent subscribers numbers, Apple seem to have good hold on streaming music business. Now, comes streaming video, next frontier and Apple must win it.
    The ones that show both Pandora and Spotify have over 4x the subscribers as Apple if you're including Apple's free trial numbers?
    Or are you going by the fake 'research data' ad from yesterday?

    AM is a turd, and this hiring shows that Apple agrees.
    It's good news - AM might have a chance now.


  • Reply 15 of 19
    irelandireland Posts: 16,530member
    ireland said:
    Be it aggressively compete with Netflix or be it never compete with Netflix. Netflix is where it's at. Independent content producers want to be on Netflix. Apple should have been that guy. Apple has two choice in this space, as I see it. Either acquire Netflix or several of their key people and build their own Netflix or use other key people or buy another outfit and build their own Netflix. POTA & CK are garnish, in comparison. Netflix may not be making much money right now—I'm unsure, but it is the future. Until Apple builds a service that has me convinced I need to switch from Netflix to it, they have a problem. A streaming subscription is the only future for video content. Anything that isn't that is a distraction.

    I still say (if they could pay to keep all of Netflix's contracts; and they are not short of money) Apple should bite the bullet and acquire Netflix. Leave Netflix to continue to run independently and Apple can focus on great hardware (and a better remote) and great video content apps (a Netflix company culture weakness). Then eventually rebrand Netflix "Apple TV"—the service, and offer it for $9.99 per month (get rid of the other two plans) and have Apple Music for the same price as now of $9.99 per month, but offer a special price for subscribing to both services simultaneously from Apple's hardware platforms for $15.99, or something crazy. And offer a bundle price of $59 a month or something that includes a free Apple Television (that somehow perhaps uses a hardware-update-able puck equivalent as its brains). And still sell the puck for those who'd rather pay less or have a different TV or are not in the market for a new TV or who'd rather pay for the television hardware up front. Apple needs some very new ideas like this. Something to put Apple TV on the hardware map and themselves in the living room in a big way. And go from there. Wake up, Cook. Content is a-knockin'.
    I understand that the contracts with the studios would not survive the sale of Netflix, so even though they are developing more and more original content it would be a skeletal selection compared to their current lineup.
    I still haven't gotten clarification if that claim is true. Money solves these issues.
  • Reply 16 of 19
    irelandireland Posts: 16,530member

    Once an incumbent is firmly entrenched, like YouTube and Netflix, it's really hard for a newcomer to gain any traction.
    Hence my suggestion to buy them and pay to keep the contracts—whatever it takes.
  • Reply 17 of 19
    Obviously competition matters a little, but with a market as big as TV and video, the success of YouTube and Netflix and Amazon and Comcast and cable and Disney and others will not really limit the success of what Apple can do, as long as the interface is good. The value they're creating in the streaming music business is an excellent example of this.
  • Reply 18 of 19
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 26,168member
    ireland said:
    ireland said:
    Be it aggressively compete with Netflix or be it never compete with Netflix. Netflix is where it's at. Independent content producers want to be on Netflix. Apple should have been that guy. Apple has two choice in this space, as I see it. Either acquire Netflix or several of their key people and build their own Netflix or use other key people or buy another outfit and build their own Netflix. POTA & CK are garnish, in comparison. Netflix may not be making much money right now—I'm unsure, but it is the future. Until Apple builds a service that has me convinced I need to switch from Netflix to it, they have a problem. A streaming subscription is the only future for video content. Anything that isn't that is a distraction.

    I still say (if they could pay to keep all of Netflix's contracts; and they are not short of money) Apple should bite the bullet and acquire Netflix. Leave Netflix to continue to run independently and Apple can focus on great hardware (and a better remote) and great video content apps (a Netflix company culture weakness). Then eventually rebrand Netflix "Apple TV"—the service, and offer it for $9.99 per month (get rid of the other two plans) and have Apple Music for the same price as now of $9.99 per month, but offer a special price for subscribing to both services simultaneously from Apple's hardware platforms for $15.99, or something crazy. And offer a bundle price of $59 a month or something that includes a free Apple Television (that somehow perhaps uses a hardware-update-able puck equivalent as its brains). And still sell the puck for those who'd rather pay less or have a different TV or are not in the market for a new TV or who'd rather pay for the television hardware up front. Apple needs some very new ideas like this. Something to put Apple TV on the hardware map and themselves in the living room in a big way. And go from there. Wake up, Cook. Content is a-knockin'.
    I understand that the contracts with the studios would not survive the sale of Netflix, so even though they are developing more and more original content it would be a skeletal selection compared to their current lineup.
    I still haven't gotten clarification if that claim is true. Money solves these issues.
    If I recall correctly, back when Netflix was trying to sell their company, this was one of the objections raised and what led to them developing their own content.
  • Reply 19 of 19
    Notsofast said:

    [...] Netflix is far from entrenched.  Viewers can easily switch with a click to other services.
    Sure, I agree. My question is "Why would they?" I think most people feel fairly positive about Netflix. Nobody LOVES it, but nobody really hates it, either.

    So now, along comes a similar offering from somebody else. Why would I switch? You're saying that "cheaper" would be a motivator, which is true, but how do you make that work when Netflix is only ten bucks a month? There isn't much room to make price a compelling point of competition.

    That only leaves content, and I can't imagine people singing in cars or pitches for apps being much of a draw. What could a competitor offer that Netflix doesn't? After you remove Netflix's slice, is there enough pie left to get people to buy into another service?

    Two vertical integrators in Canada have tried their hand at competing with Netflix. While Bell is still offering CraveTV at CAD$8/mo, focussing on classic TV shows rather than movies, Shaw's Shomi lasted less than two years before they gave up and shuttered it. That doesn't inspire confidence that Apple is likely to have a lot of success, especially given how weak their early efforts are.
Sign In or Register to comment.