Hulu Complies With Apple's New iOS In-App Subscription Rules Without Sharing Revenue

Discussion in 'MacRumors.com News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Jun 20, 2011.

  1. macrumors bot

    MacRumors

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    All Things Digital reports that in the latest update to its Hulu Plus application, television streaming company Hulu has brought itself into compliance with Apple's new In-App Subscription rules, taking advantage of a recent shift in Apple's stance to simply remove an external link to sign up for the paid service rather than offering subscriptions inside the application under a system in which Apple would take 30% of the revenue.
    As initially deployed back in mid-February, Apple's In-App Subscription mechanism allowed publishers to set prices, but also required them offer the same offers inside their applications as found through external mechanisms. Under the program, Apple would retain 30% of the revenue on subscriptions generated within the applications as a fee for bringing the subscriber to the service. The new terms were set to go into effect on June 30th for existing subscription-based applications, leading many to wonder how services such as Hulu and Netflix would deal with the requirements.

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    External subscription link text (bottom) removed from Hulu Plus login screen
    But with Apple reversing course earlier this month, those services now have a much easier path to compliance with Apple In-App Subscriptions terms. Under the revised terms, publishers with subscription programs are not required to also offer In App Subscriptions, provided that they do not link users to external purchasing mechanisms.

    Consequently, apps like Hulu Plus can meet the requirements by simply having their subscription links removed from within the app. Hulu loses the benefit of direct link-outs for new subscribers, but does not have to offer In-App Subscriptions that would undoubtedly result in significant amounts of revenue being diverted to Apple. Users interested in subscribing to Hulu will simply have to visit Hulu's site on their own, manually entering the address or finding it through a search engine, in order to sign up.

    All Things Digital notes that the solution adopted by Hulu is likely to make its way to a number of other prominent services such as Netflix and Rhapsody, although it is unclear how others such as Amazon's Kindle Store will be able to satisfactorily comply with the new rules going into effect next week without removing a significant convenience factor of being able to purchase individual e-books via link-outs from the app itself.

    Article Link: Hulu Complies With Apple's New iOS In-App Subscription Rules Without Sharing Revenue
     
  2. macrumors 6502a

    ratzzo

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    Clever move. I wonder if Apple will do anything against that, they seems to shift their policies every week..
     
  3. macrumors demi-god

    soco

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    #3
    This makes me nervous.

    Only because there's a lot of mumbo-jumbo behind the rules. What happened to being a blind consumer? Those were the days.
     
  4. macrumors 6502a

    mrblack927

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    #4
    Seems like it just makes it harder/more confusing for the user.
     
  5. macrumors demi-god

    soco

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    #5
    Friggin BS. Buscemi wanted to be Mr. Black...
     
  6. arn
    macrumors god

    arn

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    #6
    unlikely, since this was the intended purpose of the rule changes. So apps like Hulu and Netflix could continue to exist in the app store

    arn
     
  7. macrumors 6502a

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    It's too bad that Apple is pushing this 30% on the app developers. For the user, it makes far more sense to be able to get these things Apple's way through in-app purchases, even the link to the Web site was a PITA. But the 30% charge will deter many of these providers, particularly the big ones who already have a built-in subscriber base and in the end it's the consumer who suffers.
     
  8. macrumors 6502a

    ratzzo

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    #8
    Really? I would very much prefer to be aware of what's going on with what I use than be ignorant around it.
     
  9. macrumors 68030

    Amazing Iceman

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    #9
    This Falls Between Ridiculous and Plain Stupid

    Removing a link???
    Well, HULU should be able to still show the URL without making a link, and still be compliant, shouldn't they?

    Removing these links just causes aggravation to the End-Users.
    I can't believe a link would be so relevant.
     
  10. macrumors regular

    FriarNurgle

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    #10
    Paying for Netflix is enough.
     
  11. macrumors G5

    Consultant

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    #11
    Netflix is better and without ad. Why would anyone pay for hulu and still see ads?

    Well, perhaps the additional App Store eye balls will simply not pay.
     
  12. macrumors 601

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    #12
    I don't know if they can do a non-active link, but they should be able to mention the existence of their website or provide a link to their homepage.
     
  13. macrumors 6502

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    I'm no lawyer, but this seems to me to be anti-competitive practices, especially considering it has the ability to stop Netflix & Amazon (both of whom have competing products to Apple) from functioning in a manner that 1) is profitable, and 2) is in any way competitive with Apple's own offerings - in reality, this is edging a little too close towards the IE/Windows debacle for my liking.
     
  14. macrumors 603

    ChazUK

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    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (Linux; U; Android 2.3.4; en-gb; Nexus S Build/GRJ22) AppleWebKit/533.1 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0 Mobile Safari/533.1)

    A simple move to comply. I'd assume some others would follow doing this.
     
  15. macrumors regular

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    #15
    Apple, all you have to do is lower the cut and you'll get people on board with in-app purchases. 30% is onerous. 10% is probably manageable for most companies.

    And yes, I know no one who can change this will ever read my comment.
     
  16. macrumors G3

    rhett7660

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    #16
    I agree. I can see a slew of apps following suit and doing this if they haven't already.
     
  17. macrumors 68000

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    Apple has just done the hard work for anyone who wants to sue them for this policy.

    I'm looking at you, Amazon.
     
  18. macrumors 603

    Oletros

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    I highly doubt that companies like Amazon, Netflix, Spotify or Hulu will get on board even with a 10% cut. Why they would give 10% of revenue to anyone by doing nothing they're are doing?
     
  19. macrumors 603

    marksman

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    #19
    No. If App developers are going to use the Apple infrastructure to sell subscriptions then Apple should get a share of the revenue. I suspect given these very lenient considerations by Apple that the will be pretty strict with people who try to circumvent these rules.

    It is ridiculous to think that App developers should just be able to perch on Apple's infrastructure and sell their product to Apple's customers with Apple not being involved. This is why this is.

    Companies can bring their own customers to their apps, but they can't just use Apple's platform to recruit new paying customers for free.



    You are way off base here. The App Store is a retail store. Retail stores can sell whatever they want, pretty much however they want. This has nothing to do with any sort of anti-trust issue or competitive practices.
     
  20. macrumors 68020

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    #20
    I wonder if they could have left the link, and simply changed the verbiage to not include the term "sign up". Surely apps are still allowed to link back to a website.

    Maybe if the link said "Need help? Goto ...)
     
  21. macrumors 603

    Oletros

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    #21
    Which infrastruture is using Amazon when a Kindle book is sold?
     
  22. Moderator

    OllyW

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    #22
    It's a slight inconvenience for users though not as much of an inconvenience as losing the app altogether, which could have been the outcome had Apple not relaxed it's rules.
     
  23. macrumors regular

    FriarNurgle

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    #23
    How about just making Hulu work on iOS? I'm fine with "watching" a couple ads. Just think of their ad exposure if they opened it up to work in mobile safari or a stand alone free app.
     
  24. macrumors 68020

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    #24
    Because with a IAP Apple would be facilitating the payment process making it safer and easier for a user to purchase the content. With IAP, the user wouldn't even need to log in. There have been many times when I did not sign up for a subscription simply because I did not know the reputation of the site well enough to trust sending my payment details.

    The way I see it, charge 10% and don't enforce matching prices. In most cases you will make up for the lost percentage through increased membership.
     
  25. macrumors 603

    Oletros

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    #25
    You're talking about the user, I'm talking about the companies? In which way Apple is facilicitating Amazon with IAP?
     

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