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Netflix is about to make a big change to the way you pay for streaming

Published Aug 21st, 2018 11:49AM EDT

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Netflix may soon make a significant change to how it charges for its subscriptions, although it shouldn’t really impact users. Well, it might make paying for Netflix a bit more difficult than it should be, but the prices won’t change. What Netflix wants to do is to ditch Apple from the payment scheme to avoid paying the 30% it gets when users subscribe to Netflix via the iPhone or iPad.

According to TechCrunch, Netflix already confirmed that it’s testing “the iTunes payment method” in 33 countries — well, that’s the bypassing iTunes method.

Subscribers in various markets in Europe, Latin America, and Asia will not be able to pay using iTunes. Instead, they’ll be redirected to the mobile web version to pay Netflix directly, without any involvement from Apple. When subscriptions are started inside an iOS app, Apple takes 30% of sales in the first year and 15% for every subsequent year.

A customer support rep confirmed that tests have been running since June in 10 countries before expanding to 33 countries on August 2nd:

During this time, customers in these countries may experience any of the following when launching the Netflix app on an iOS (mobile or tablet) device: 1. Ability to sign up in-app with only iTunes Mode Of Payment. 2. Ability to log into Netflix but not sign up (sign up only via mobile browser). 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.

The test is currently running 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.

The company stopped allowing Google Pay billing in May, which indicates Netflix wants to ditch the middleman everywhere its app is available. Netflix may be under pressure to squeeze out more profits without raising the prices. In July, the company posted misses on both revenue and subscribers additions. Reports that followed revealed that Netflix’s costs to acquire new users are growing rapidly.

At the same time, Netflix has been testing new pricing structures as well. Weeks ago, Netflix confirmed it was looking at different streaming plans including an option that was even costlier than its most expensive current subscription, but it said these were just tests and no changes are planned for the time being.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.