×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Netflix Disables Signup Through Apple’s App Store in Broad iOS App Test

Netflix is currently running a test of its iOS app in more than 30 countries that doesn’t allow users to pay for the service through Apple’s App Store billing system — which would let the company avoid paying the Apple “tax” on subscriptions.

“We are constantly innovating and testing new signup approaches on different platforms to better understand what our members like,” a Netflix rep said in an emailed statement. “Based on what we learn, we work to improve the Netflix experience for members everywhere.”

Apple did not respond to a request for comment.

The Netflix test, first reported by Indian tech-news site Gadgets 360, spans 33 countries (not including the U.S., for now). New users in markets including Great Britain, Canada, Brazil and Germany who download the iOS app will see one of two options: to sign up and subscribe only via Apple’s App Store, or be able to login only and sign up via Netflix’s site directly.

By forcing new Netflix members to sign up directly, the company avoids paying Apple a share of the revenue for subscriptions (referred by some in the industry as a “tax”). Apple takes a 30% cut of subscription revenue from app partners for the first year, and then 15% in subsequent years.

For Apple, subscriptions through apps have become a booming business. They helped drive the company’s services revenue up 31% year-over-year in the June 30 quarter, to $9.6 billion. CEO Tim Cook, on the tech giant’s July 31 earnings call, boasted that more than 300 million people now pay for subscriptions through the App Store.

Two years ago, when Spotify directed new users to sign up directly — instead of through the App Store — Apple suggested that Spotify’s iOS app could be removed from the App Store because it was trying to “circumvent in-app purchase rules.” The companies have resolved their differences, and Spotify now does not allow new subscribers to pay through the App Store.

Meanwhile, Netflix as of this past May no longer lets new or returning subs sign up through Google Play billing, as noted by TechCrunch.

For now, Netflix’s test to bypass Apple’s App Store billing system is set for a limited time. It kicked off the trial in June in 10 countries before widening it to 33 countries in a test slated to run Aug. 2-Sept. 30.

Netflix routinely tests new features and pricing, and there’s no guarantee it will universally introduce them. The company, for example, recently launched a test of short promos for Netflix series that run after an episode concludes (and before the next one starts) — which has spawned ire that it’s foisting “commercials” on its members.

Per the TechCrunch report, Netflix is testing direct billing in the iOS app in the following countries: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, Norway, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, and Thailand.

Popular on Variety

More Digital

  • Doug Scott - Twitch

    Twitch Recruits Zynga's Doug Scott as Chief Marketing Officer

    Doug Scott is leaving as game company Zynga’s marketing boss to become Twitch’s CMO. Scott assumes the CMO role at Twitch after previous chief marketing officer Kate Jhaveri exited this summer to become the NBA’s top marketing exec. News of Scott’s hire comes less than a month after Twitch launched a redesigned logo and site, [...]

  • Carter Hansen - VidCon

    VidCon Hires Ex-AwesomenessTV Exec Carter Hansen to Head Conference Programming

    VidCon hired Carter Hansen, a founding executive at AwesomenessTV, as VP of programming to oversee conference programming and content for the internet-video events producer. In the newly created role, Hansen reports to VidCon GM Jim Louderback and will be based in Viacom’s Hollywood office. As part of overseeing programming worldwide for VidCon’s community, creator and [...]

  • The Boys Amazon Prime

    Nielsen Adds Amazon Prime Video to SVOD Measurement, With Limitations

    After two years of measuring Netflix viewing, Nielsen has now added Amazon Prime Video to the mix of subscription-streaming services it tracks — and with the same set of limitations. Nielsen’s SVOD Content Ratings originally launched in October 2017 with Netflix. According to the research firm, the addition of Amazon Prime Video measurement will let [...]

  • Gavel Court Placeholder

    Netflix Movie Scammer Admits to Defrauding Investors Out of $14 Million

    A California man has admitted to defrauding investment groups — nabbing $14 million — by falsely claiming the money would be used to produce a feature film for Netflix. On Oct. 18, Adam Joiner, 41, of Manhattan Beach, Calif., pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud in U.S. District Court, according to federal authorities. [...]

  • netflix debt

    Netflix to Raise Another $2 Billion Through Debt to Fund Massive Content Spending

    Netflix, burning boatloads of cash with a projected $15 billion content budget for 2019, is adding to its debt load once again. On Monday (Oct. 21), Netflix announced plans to offer approximately $2.0 billion aggregate principal amount of junk bonds, in both U.S dollar and euro denominations. As of Sept. 30, Netflix reported $12.43 billion [...]

  • Bristol, CT - July 26, 2018

    Mina Kimes Helps ESPN Kick Off 'Daily' Podcast

    Mina Kimes is preparing to take ESPN into a new frontier. The sports-media giant has launched a “SportsCenter” for Snapchat and tested baseball telecasts for kids. Now it’s hoping to set up shop in another media venue. Starting tomorrow, the Disney-backed company launches “ESPN Daily,” a weekday morning podcast that aims to tap its vast [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content