Apple Hires Timothy Twerdahl, Former GM of Amazon Fire TV, to Run Apple TV Marketing

Timothy Twerdahl, who led Amazon’s Fire TV set-top group for almost four years, has joined Apple as a vice president — where he will head up marketing for Apple TV, Bloomberg reported.

Apple and Amazon reps did not respond to requests for comment.

Twerdahl, who’s also worked in senior roles at Roku, Netflix and Motorola, joined Apple in the San Francisco Bay Area earlier this month, according to his LinkedIn profile. At Apple, Twerdahl reports to Greg Joswiak, VP of iPhone and iOS product marketing, per the Bloomberg report.

Apple hasn’t disclosed sales volumes for Apple TV since March 2015, when the company said it had shipped more than 25 million of the devices worldwide to date. The first Apple TV was launched in 2007, and the tech giant rolled out the current fourth-generation version of the set-top in the fall of 2015. The Apple TV costs $150 with 32 gigabytes of storage or $200 with 64 GB.

But in past year, Apple TV has struggled to grow. There were 20.5 million Apple TV users in the U.S. as of October 2016, and that’s projected to grow to just 25.8 million by 2020, according to estimates from research firm eMarketer. Apple TV has been hampered by its relatively high price and lack of support for Amazon Video and Spotify, the researcher said.

By contrast, the $90 Amazon Fire TV — Twerdahl’s former baby — is the fastest-growing connected-TV device in the market, and in 2017 will surpass Roku in terms of users, according to eMarketer’s forecasts. Fire TV is expected to nearly double its installed base by 2020, to capture 27% U.S. market share versus Google’s Chromecast at 29.5%, Roku at 22.7% and Apple TV at 12.8%.

Meanwhile, Twerdahl comes to Apple amid its ongoing feud with Amazon over digital video and devices. In the fall of 2015, Amazon stopped selling Apple TVs (as well as Chromecast dongles) and instead displays Fire TV in search results. The e-commerce company said that’s because it wants to feature only streaming devices that “interact well” with Amazon Prime Video, but the standoff may have more to do with Amazon balking at the app store policies of Apple and Google.

With Twerdahl’s hire, Pete Distad — the exec who has led Apple TV marketing since joining from Hulu in 2013 — will shift to focus to content deals under Eddy Cue, SVP of internet software and services, Bloomberg reported, citing an anonymous source. Apple has embarked on a new effort to procure or produce original scripted TV shows and possibly movies for the Apple Music subscription service, according to a Wall Street Journal report last month.

More Digital

  • FaceApp is displayed on an iPhone,

    SAG-AFTRA Warns Members About FaceApp Terms of Use

    SAG-AFTRA is warning its 160,000 members about the “overreaching and invasive” terms of use for the FaceApp mobile application. FaceApp, developed by Russian company Wireless Lab, uses neural network technology to automatically generate transformations of faces in photographs. The app can be used to make users appear older, younger, or change gender. The terms include [...]

  • J. Cole

    Apple Music Launches 'Rap Life' Playlist

    Apple Music announced the launch of “Rap Life,” a new global playlist focusing on contemporary rap artists and culture. It replaces the former “The A-List: Hip-Hop” playlist. Said Ebro Darden, Apple Music’s Global Editorial Head of Hip-Hop and R&B: “We flipped it to dig deeper into into the lifestyle [and to] keep pushing the culture [...]

  • Billie Eilish

    ARRI, Mobile TV Group Back New Venture Revitalizing Streamed Concerts

    A new venture looking to bring a fresh approach to live-streaming concerts has gotten the backing of hardware heavyweights ARRI and Mobile TV Group. Wide+Close is launching with the mandate of shooting music performances with film cameras and cinematographers in order to give the content a more cinematic feel. “We want to take concert filming [...]

  • Fortnite Battle Royale

    How 'Fortnite' Fans Can Earn Loot by Watching YouTube Videos

    Epic Games and YouTube have teamed up with a special offer for “Fortnite” players — giving players of the popular battle-royale game rewards when they watch “Fortnite”-premiered content on the video platform. The catch: You have to watch at least 20 minutes of “Fortnite” special content or live esports broadcasts to receive the loot. Under [...]

  • Roku headquarters

    Roku Plans to Expand to Brazil, Other Countries (EXCLUSIVE)

    Roku plans to expand to multiple new territories in the coming months, Variety has learned. One of the first new markets for the company will likely be Brazil. An international expansion could help Roku grow its customer base, which in turn should lead to growing advertising revenues. Roku executives have been hinting at plans to [...]

  • Google Stadia Pro to Include 1

    Google’s Stadia Game Streaming Service to Include Free Monthly Game

    Google has been busy sharing additional details about its upcoming game streaming service Stadia, clearing up some confusion in the process. Stadia’s pro subscription tier, which will cost $10 per month, won’t be a Netflix-type subscription service. However, subscribers will get free games at the rate of about a title per month. That’s according to [...]

  • Crypt-TV-Facebook

    Facebook Signs Deal With Crypt TV for Slate of Five Horror Series

    Crypt TV, the digital studio founded by Eli Roth and Jack Davis and backed by Jason Blum, expanded its deal with Facebook, inking a content partnership to create a slate of five horror and monster-themed series exclusively for Facebook Watch. For Facebook Watch, it’s one of the first deals for a full slate of content [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content