Apple hires top UK TV exec to bolster original content push – CNET

Jay Hunt the Chief Creative Officer of Channel 4

Jay Hunt, shown here in 2011 when she was the chief creative officer of Channel 4, is Apple’s latest TV hire.

Oli Scarff / Getty Images

Apple seems to have scored a win for its entertainment department on Wednesday by hiring top UK TV executive Jay Hunt.

Apple confirmed Hunt’s appointment to the Financial Times but didn’t immediately respond to CNET’s request for confirmation. She will reportedly take up the role of creative chief of European video operations in January, working with Zack Van Amburg and Jamie Erlicht, who Apple hired from Sony Pictures in June.

The hirings mark the start of Apple’s hard push into original video content as it steps up to compete with established players like Netflix and Amazon. The tech company’s creative team will invest $1 billion in original programming over the next year, although according to a report also published Wednesday, it will be looking to keep its content PG-rated so it remains suitable for family audiences.

Hunt most recently worked in the top creative role at Channel 4, where she successfully poached family favourite “The Great British Bake Off” from the BBC. Before that she was controller at BBC One, where she commissioned shows including “Luther” and “Sherlock.” She twice helped bring home the channel of the year award at the Edinburgh International Television Festival.

These accolades no doubt appealed to Apple as original programming, along with other service-based offerings like Apple Music become more important to the company. With slowing iPhone sales, the company is looking double revenue through iTunes and its TV app to about $50 billion by 2020.

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