Netflix is testing an experimental feature that bypasses Apple’s App Store for sign-up fees. Some users are seeing that the iOS app won’t display a sign-up page to open a new account. Instead, Netflix will direct these users to pay via mobile webpage, eschewing Apple’s percentage cut of subscription fees, as spotted by TechCrunch.
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Netflix and other apps currently pay Apple 30 percent of a user’s first subscription and 15 percent for renewals. The test began in June in ten countries and has expanded to 33 this month, but it will ultimately end by September 30th, a customer service representative told TC. The US apparently isn’t affected and neither is the UK, but users in countries like Canada, Australia, Mexico, and Japan are getting redirected to the mobile web when they try to open a new account. Netflix declined to officially confirm this information.
Netflix said in a statement to The Verge: “We are constantly innovating and testing new signup approaches on different platforms to better understand what our members like. Based on what we learn, we work to improve the Netflix experience for members everywhere.”
Other companies have fought OS stores to get out of paying them a cut of subscriptions. Epic Games launched Fortnite on Android through an APK on its website and not through the Google Play store. Back in 2015, Spotify tried to raise awareness that subscribing through the web would be cheaper than going through the Apple Store. In 2016, in response to app developers’ pushback, Apple adjusted its revenue cuts to 15 percent after the first year, instead of a permanent 30 percent.