Netflix kills in-app subscription option for iPhone & iPad users

Posted:
in iPhone
Joining some other prominent companies, video streaming service Netflix is no longer allowing new customers to subscribe via iTunes -- that is, by way of an in-app purchase on their iPhone or iPad.

A Netflix original series, The Punisher.
A Netflix original series, The Punisher.


The change actually began rolling out globally in late November, Netflix explained to VentureBeat on Friday. People who used the in-app option earlier will continue to be billed through iTunes, but once service is canceled for at least a month, they'll be forced to resubscribe on the Web and then log back into the iOS app.

The change was presumably made to avoid Apple's cut of in-app transactions. Apple normally takes 30 percent -- this can shrink to 15 percent for long-term subscribers, but still means that subscription services must either lose a substantial amount of profit or increase their App Store pricing, which risks alienating customers.

One of the best-known examples of this problem was faced by Spotify, which for some time charged in-app Premium subscribers $3 extra. It eventually soured on the discrepancy and abandoned the in-app option.

Spotify has argued that App Store policies give Apple an unfair advantage, since a service like Apple Music is not only untouched by revenue sharing but integrated into every Apple device. Other critics have suggested that it's unfair for Apple to claim revenue from content it doesn't produce or host.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 83
    I wish they'd also kill that video preview and that annoying, recently-added startup sound - or at least give users an option to disable them.

    What's next - commercials for other same-service content at the beginning of each video like Amazon Prime Video added a while back?
    StrangeDaysjbdragonwatto_cobraMacQc
  • Reply 2 of 83
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,903member
    zroger73 said:
    I wish they'd also kill that video preview and that annoying, recently-added startup sound - or at least give users an option to disable them.

    What's next - commercials for other same-service content at the beginning of each video like Amazon Prime Video added a while back?
    If the paired HomePods were last set to full volume that start up sound is something to behold ... ducks fly off the lake even with the sliders shut lol.
    magman1979radarthekatwatto_cobraphilboogiemacgui
  • Reply 3 of 83
    AppleExposedAppleExposed Posts: 439unconfirmed, member
    Don't bite the Apple that feeds you.

    This may be an early move is desperation due to Apples coming service.

    I hope Apples service dominates like everything else Apple does. Couldn't care if Netflix became the next Nokia.
    crossladdaventmaymagman1979racerhomie3genovelleberndogGeorgeBMacmdriftmeyerwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 83
    I have had DVDnetflix for a couple of years and tried to subscribe to Netflix (streaming) for my AppleTV through iTunes.   It took some effort but finally got it set up earlier this year.   But apparently the two services are separate and could not be combined as I had used iTunes setup.   So I had to cancel the iTunes and set up through Netflix website then link the two accounts and now everything works perfectly.

    Throughout that process the Netflix service reps kept telling me that they were really have problems with iTunes accounts and billing.   So this announcement is not too much of a surprise.  

    As for Apple's streaming service - I'll believe it when I see it.   These are very difficult to set up due to combination of digital rights, local station and sports services, and new compelling content.   None of which Apple has much experience with as far as video goes (they obviously know the music business).  I think it's going to be a long bumpy road for Apple.
    muthuk_vanalingamwilliamlondon
  • Reply 5 of 83
    A recent Netflix support chat:
    Your issue is: I am trying to turn off the new startup sound when I open the app on my Apple TV, and also turn off the rating (i.e. TV-14, TV-MA) from appearing every time I play a title. Can you help me shut these off? If not can you submit a bug report / feature request to the team? Thank you.
    You are now chatting with: Carlo
    Netflix Carlo: Hi there! unfortunately, we do not have a way to disable those behaviors since they are built into the design of our interface. I appreciate you for taking time to share your insight about it, rest assured here in Netflix, from time to time update is being held to improve and give better customer experience. Was there anything else?
    You: Thank you, I thought that may be the case, Can you please submit a request to the development team that I would like to be able to turn these off in the future? The sound is annoying because it is loud. The Rating is not needed in my case because I am the only one in the house watching.
    Netflix Carlo: I want to be honest with you... We actually do not have a department who we can forward this feedback to. Im afraid we really do only have customer service but of course, I assure you that this chat is documented. Im really sorry if this is causing you any inconvenience.
    Netflix Carlo: I would love to answer all your questions today before I let you go. Was there anything else aside from this?
    You: Thank you for being candid, I appreciate it. Those are the only problems I'm having. Thanks for your help and I hope you have a nice day.
    Netflix Carlo: In the future you can also use our help.netflix.com website as a self service option. I'm glad that I was able to answer your questions. Thank you reaching out!

    AppleExposedmagman1979zroger73radarthekatMacQcsteveau
  • Reply 6 of 83
    The stupid thing I wish they’d remove — on Apple TV, forcing me to select which user profile to use...SINCE THERE IS ONLY ONE CHOICE! (me). This makes zero sense. If there’s only one profile on an account, then there is no reason to prompt the user to pick one. Logic mandates this.

    Mentioned it on their twitter help but may have to file it again on their support site. 
    AppleExposedzroger73radarthekatwatto_cobraphilboogie
  • Reply 7 of 83
    entropysentropys Posts: 1,502member
    Sad for new subscribers.  I am just glad I can keep paying for it through iTunes.  Same for Amazon Prime.  That way, whenever I get a discount iTunes card or a gift card, the cost of netflix and prime is covered at a discount!
    agilealtitudedavenAppleExposedmagman1979radarthekatwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 83
    Makes sense. Especially now that Apple will become a competitior. And anyone who says Apple deserves a cut of Netflix subscriptions then must also believe Apple deserves a cut of every Uber and Lyft ride.
    muthuk_vanalingamwilliamlondon
  • Reply 9 of 83
    Don't bite the Apple that feeds you.

    This may be an early move is desperation due to Apples coming service.

    I hope Apples service dominates like everything else Apple does. Couldn't care if Netflix became the next Nokia.
    So you want Netflix to fail because they don’t want to give Apple 30/15% cut? How is that good for anybody?
    gatorguymuthuk_vanalingammylovinowilliamlondondesignrsingularitydasanman69
  • Reply 10 of 83
    Glad I’m locked in for the 15%+ discount for as long as I keep my account.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 83
    AppleExposedAppleExposed Posts: 439unconfirmed, member
    Don't bite the Apple that feeds you.

    This may be an early move is desperation due to Apples coming service.

    I hope Apples service dominates like everything else Apple does. Couldn't care if Netflix became the next Nokia.
    So you want Netflix to fail because they don’t want to give Apple 30/15% cut? How is that good for anybody?
    Yes I do.

    Do you think Walmart does not deserve a cut of everything they offer?

    If I were Apple I'd kick them off my platform.
    magman1979gilly33pscooter63radarthekatwatto_cobraigorsky
  • Reply 12 of 83
    AppleExposedAppleExposed Posts: 439unconfirmed, member

    entropys said:
    Sad for new subscribers.  I am just glad I can keep paying for it through iTunes.  Same for Amazon Prime.  That way, whenever I get a discount iTunes card or a gift card, the cost of netflix and prime is covered at a discount!
    More iTunes gift cards are gifted than Netflix/Hulu combined.

    Really dumb on their part and horrid customer service!
    magman1979racerhomie3watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 83
    Apple should start charging companies like Netflix, that charge customers but give nothing back to Apple, for making their services available through the AppStore. 
    AppleExposedmagman1979radarthekatwatto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 83
    Don't bite the Apple that feeds you.

    This may be an early move is desperation due to Apples coming service.

    I hope Apples service dominates like everything else Apple does. Couldn't care if Netflix became the next Nokia.
    So you want Netflix to fail because they don’t want to give Apple 30/15% cut? How is that good for anybody?
    Yes I do.

    Do you think Walmart does not deserve a cut of everything they offer?

    If I were Apple I'd kick them off my platform.
    There would be a full on revolt against Apple if they kicked Netflix off. It would be the worst PR move in Apples history. Lucky we don’t have to worry about that. 
    muthuk_vanalingamjbdragondesignrradarthekat
  • Reply 15 of 83
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,817member
    crosslad said:
    Apple should start charging companies like Netflix, that charge customers but give nothing back to Apple, for making their services available through the AppStore. 
    They do "give back" to Apple since they offer a service that Apple users want. How is it so different from Apple hosting other "free apps" that users find valuable, stuff like Dropbox or Adobe Reader or Lastpass, that help keep Apple users happy in the ecosystem?

    Pretty sure you wouldn't want Netflix mobile as an Android exclusive.
    edited December 2018 muthuk_vanalingamjbdragon
  • Reply 16 of 83
    Don't bite the Apple that feeds you.

    This may be an early move is desperation due to Apples coming service.

    I hope Apples service dominates like everything else Apple does. Couldn't care if Netflix became the next Nokia.
    So you want Netflix to fail because they don’t want to give Apple 30/15% cut? How is that good for anybody?
    Yes I do.

    Do you think Walmart does not deserve a cut of everything they offer?

    If I were Apple I'd kick them off my platform.
    So what you’re saying is Apple shouldn’t offer free apps. OK but that would be terrible for the AppStore.
    muthuk_vanalingamjbdragonwilliamlondon
  • Reply 17 of 83
    gatorguy said:
    crosslad said:
    Apple should start charging companies like Netflix, that charge customers but give nothing back to Apple, for making their services available through the AppStore. 
    They do "give back" to Apple since they offer a service that Apple users want. How is it so different from Apple hosting other "free apps" that users find valuable, stuff like Dropbox or Adobe Reader or Lastpass, that help keep Apple users happy in the ecosystem?

    Pretty sure you wouldn't want Netflix mobile as an Android exclusive. it wouldn't reflect well on the platform would it? 
    Remember when Apple stopped installing YouTube as a default app?  How long did that last before Google put an app in the App Store?If Apple started charging Netflix, how long do you think it would be before Google did too. Apple needs some form of income to ensure the App Store remains viable. 
    AppleExposedradarthekatwatto_cobraigorsky
  • Reply 18 of 83
    gatorguy said:
    crosslad said:
    Apple should start charging companies like Netflix, that charge customers but give nothing back to Apple, for making their services available through the AppStore. 
    They do "give back" to Apple since they offer a service that Apple users want. How is it so different from Apple hosting other "free apps" that users find valuable, stuff like Dropbox or Adobe Reader or Lastpass, that help keep Apple users happy in the ecosystem?

    Pretty sure you wouldn't want Netflix mobile as an Android exclusive. it wouldn't reflect well on the platform would it? 
    And if Netflix should be giving a cut to Apple then surely Uber and Lyft should too. Heck Eddy Cue even said Uber wouldn’t exist if not for the iPhone. I don’t think the same can be said for Netflix. I watch Netflix on my smart TV which has nothing to do with Apple.
    jbdragonwilliamlondon
  • Reply 19 of 83
    AppleExposedAppleExposed Posts: 439unconfirmed, member
    crosslad said:
    Apple should start charging companies like Netflix, that charge customers but give nothing back to Apple, for making their services available through the AppStore. 
    I was thinking just that.

    Don't bite the Apple that feeds you.

    This may be an early move is desperation due to Apples coming service.

    I hope Apples service dominates like everything else Apple does. Couldn't care if Netflix became the next Nokia.
    So you want Netflix to fail because they don’t want to give Apple 30/15% cut? How is that good for anybody?
    Yes I do.

    Do you think Walmart does not deserve a cut of everything they offer?

    If I were Apple I'd kick them off my platform.
    There would be a full on revolt against Apple if they kicked Netflix off. It would be the worst PR move in Apples history. Lucky we don’t have to worry about that. 

    Of course, but that's just the Steve Jobs in me thinking out loud.

    Don't bite the Apple that feeds you.

    This may be an early move is desperation due to Apples coming service.

    I hope Apples service dominates like everything else Apple does. Couldn't care if Netflix became the next Nokia.
    So you want Netflix to fail because they don’t want to give Apple 30/15% cut? How is that good for anybody?
    Yes I do.

    Do you think Walmart does not deserve a cut of everything they offer?

    If I were Apple I'd kick them off my platform.
    So what you’re saying is Apple shouldn’t offer free apps. OK but that would be terrible for the AppStore.

    No I didn't say that.


    trashman69
  • Reply 20 of 83
    gatorguy said:
    crosslad said:
    Apple should start charging companies like Netflix, that charge customers but give nothing back to Apple, for making their services available through the AppStore. 
    They do "give back" to Apple since they offer a service that Apple users want. How is it so different from Apple hosting other "free apps" that users find valuable, stuff like Dropbox or Adobe Reader or Lastpass, that help keep Apple users happy in the ecosystem?

    Pretty sure you wouldn't want Netflix mobile as an Android exclusive. it wouldn't reflect well on the platform would it? 
    And if Netflix should be giving a cut to Apple then surely Uber and Lyft should too. Heck Eddy Cue even said Uber wouldn’t exist if not for the iPhone. I don’t think the same can be said for Netflix. I watch Netflix on my smart TV which has nothing to do with Apple.
    You’re right. Apple should be charging Uber and Lyft. 
    magman1979Rayz2016AppleExposedwatto_cobra
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