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Netflix to Add In-App Billing to Its Android App, Courtesy of Google Play

Netflix wants to make it easier for Android users to pay for their monthly subscription fees: The company is getting ready to roll out in-app billing for Android, according to release notes published with a recent update of its Android app (hat tip to Droid Life).

This means that Android users will soon be able to subscribe to Netflix from within the company’s app, and use their existing payment relationship with Googles’ Play store to pay for their monthly fees. Netflix enabled in-app billing for iOS users last September.

A Netflix spokesperson confirmed the move in a statement sent to Variety: “We are rolling out in app billing for Netflix via the Google Play store to a segment of members in all supported regions. This rollout will take place over the next several weeks. A segment of users in supported regions will be able to go to the Google Play store and pay for Netflix via their Google Play payment method.”

Letting companies like Apple and Google handle the billing relationship with customers won’t come cheap for Netflix. Both companies typically take a 30 percent cut of any subscription fees charged via in-app billing. It’s possible that Netflix struck deals with either of the two companies to get a reduced rate, but billing charges could still add up.

And unlike other services, Netflix isn’t charging consumers extra for subscriptions billed through Google or Apple, which means the company’s revenue per user signed up through in-app billing is lower than it would be if the same user had signed up through Netflix’s website.

Still, there is a bigger upside for Netflix in enabling in-app billing. Not only does it take away friction from signing up for the service, but it also allows the company to target consumers that don’t have access to any of Netflix’s current payment methods. In the U.S., consumers can for example buy Google Play credits in retail stores, taking away the need for a credit card.

This becomes an even bigger issue in Netflix’s international markets. Currently, Netflix is relying heavily on international credit cards, which are not available to many potential customers in the company’s new markets around the world. Partnering with companies like Apple and Google to handle billing could greatly improve Netflix’s reach in those markets.

Update: 12:28pm: This post was updated with an official confirmation from Netflix.

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