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Netflix will no longer allow new customers to pay with in-app subscriptions on iOS

Updated Dec 29th, 2018 1:07PM EST
Netflix in-app subscription
Image: Netflix

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Whether you’re joining Netflix for the first time or returning after some time away, you will no longer be able to pay for a subscription to the streaming service through an in-app purchase on iOS. After experimenting with this big change earlier in the year by giving iOS users a way to bypass iTunes when paying for a subscription, Netflix confirmed this week that it has eliminated the ability to purchase a subscription within the iOS app altogether.

“We no longer support iTunes as a method of payment for new members,” a Netflix spokesperson told VentureBeat on Friday. Existing members will be able to continue using that method to pay for their subscription if it is currently active, though, but anyone signing up for a new subscription will be redirected.

Netflix wouldn’t say exactly when this change took place for everyone, but confirmed that the rollout started late last month. The spokesperson clarified that anyone who has previously signed up for a Netflix subscription and allowed it to lapse, even if they did so through the iOS app, will be barred from using iTunes billing.

As one of the highest-grossing apps on the App Store month after month, it’s no surprise that Netflix wanted a larger piece of the pie. Apple and Google both take a 15% cut of every in-app subscription (down from 30% previously), but why should Netflix pay a portion of its revenue to the owner of an app platform if severing ties with that platform has no ill effects? After all, is the lack of iTunes billing support going to scare any customers off?

Netflix doesn’t seem to think so, and thus the trend continues. Just a few months ago, Fortnite arrived on Android devices, but the only way to get the app was outside of the Google Play store. In fact, the app still isn’t on Google Play, and as long as Google is taking a cut, it likely never will be.

UPDATE: A Netflix spokesperson got in touch with us on Friday night to provide the following statement:

We no longer support iTunes as a method of payment for new members. Existing members who currently use iTunes as a method of payment can continue to do so.

Apple is a valued partner with whom we work closely to deliver great entertainment to members around the world across a range of devices including the iPhone and Apple TV.

Jacob Siegal
Jacob Siegal Associate Editor

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.

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