Amazon, in partnership with Apple, has quietly turned on a new feature in Prime Video’s apps for Apple devices that lets users buy or rent TV shows and movies, using the in-app payment feature.
Previously, the Prime Video app for Apple’s family of devices didn’t let you make purchases. The Prime Video app for iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV was updated April 1 to enable in-app purchasing directly to your Amazon account, as first spotted by the Verge.
What’s significant about the change: Amazon is not paying the 30% “tax” to Apple on transactions that are billed directly through Amazon.
Note that the prices of titles listed in the Prime Video apps for the Apple devices are the same as they are through Amazon’s website. For example, Disney’s “Onward” and Warner Bros.’ “Bird of Prey,” which both got early VOD releases, cost $19.99 each on Amazon Prime Video on iOS, the same as they do on Amazon.com.
In a statement to Variety, Apple said it has an established program for premium subscription video entertainment providers — including Amazon Prime Video — to offer “a variety of customer benefits,” including integration with the Apple TV app, AirPlay 2 and Siri support and (where applicable) single or zero sign-on features.
Specifically, according to Apple, “On qualifying premium video entertainment apps such as Prime Video, Altice One and Canal+, customers have the option to buy or rent movies and TV shows using the payment method tied to their existing video subscription.” For Prime Video, that means transactions are billed to a user’s Amazon account instead of through Apple.
Under Apple’s standard App Store rules, the tech giant takes a 30% cut of sales through third-party apps, including of subscription services (although Apple steps those down to 15% after a year). That “tax” is why companies like Netflix and Spotify no longer let customers use Apple’s in-app payment system.
Amazon first released a Prime Video app for iOS in 2012. The two companies haggled for several years over distribution of the Prime Video app on Apple TV, before Apple added Amazon’s Prime Video to the streaming device in December 2017.