Apple hires former YouTube and Spotify veteran to help shape its video content strategy

Apple has hired Shiva Rajaraman, a product leader formerly with Google’s YouTube, Spotify and Twitter, to accelerate its failing video content strategy, The Information reported yesterday citing people familiar with the matter. The paywall’d article cites three people briefed on the hiring as saying that Rajaraman will help shape Apple’s video strategy to take on established players like Amazon and Netflix.

“Mr. Rajaraman will also be working on the look and feel of Apple Music, Spotify’s top rival, as well as on Apple’s other media products, including news and books,” reads the story. Sources believe he may also help the Siri team advance the personal assistant.

Here’s an excerpt from the report:

Apple executives have debated how to go forward in video. One idea that has been discussed is to bundle its music, news and book offerings with new video and cable services that could be activated via the iPhone and work on Internet-connected TVs.

The executive will report to Eddy Cue, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Internet software and Services who is also one of at least three people at Apple in charge of brokering deals with content owners.

According to Rajaraman’s LinkedIn profile, he worked as YouTube’s Product Manager for eight years and at Spotify as Vice President of Product between 2014 and 2016. At YouTube, he helped cut content deals with Disney for streaming. “At different times, he ran every individual part of the YouTube team,” a former colleague told The Information.

During his stint at Spotify, the executive was credited with striking content partnerships with Disney and other industry players like Time Warner and NBC. He also helped Spotify develop alternative content such as podcasts. Prior to joining YouTube in May 2010, Rajaraman worked as Twitter’s Senior Product Manager for a brief six months.

In February 2017, Apple hired former Amazon Fire TV head and Netflix executive Timothy D. Twerdahl to head up its Apple TV business.

Source: The Information