Facebook and Apple Work Out Deal for Subscription News Purchases in iOS App

Discussion in 'iOS Blog Discussion' started by MacRumors, Feb 12, 2018.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Facebook in October introduced a new feature designed to let publishers sell subscriptions to their news sites directly on Facebook, but the social network could not work out a deal with Apple, preventing the news subscription options from being available on Facebook for iOS.

    At issue was Apple's demand for its standard 30 percent cut of any subscription revenue brought in through the Facebook iOS app, while Facebook wanted all money to go to publishers.

    At today's Code Media event, Facebook executive Campbell Brown said the dispute with Apple had been resolved, which means the subscription service tool will launch on iOS devices on March 1.


    Brown did not provide details on the deal that Facebook and Apple worked out, so it is not clear if Apple will be taking a standard 30 percent cut, a lower cut, or no cut at all.

    Facebook's news service does not offer subscriptions purchased directly on Facebook, but instead redirects customers to sign up for a subscription on the publisher website once the article limit has been reached.

    Publishers have asked Facebook to change the number of free articles Facebook users can view without a subscription from 10 to 5, a change Facebook will also implement starting on March 1.

    Article Link: Facebook and Apple Work Out Deal for Subscription News Purchases in iOS App
  2. canesalato macrumors 65816


    Jan 31, 2010
    Maybe now they will optimize their app for the iPad Pro
  3. BasicGreatGuy Contributor


    Sep 21, 2012
    In the middle of several books.
    While many here may love their Facebook, I don't care for some of their business practices, not to mention the whole social media obsession.
  4. fairuz macrumors 68020


    Aug 27, 2017
    Silicon Valley
    The 30% cut is bound to die eventually. There are going to be enough complaints about anticompetitive practice. I personally am not sure whether they should be legally required to remove it, but I think it'll happen, or private entities might just boycott them.
  5. Apple blogger macrumors 6502a

    Feb 28, 2013
    Okay so I gave a question.. I understand Apple takes 30% of subscriptions.. but, I don’t understand this.. amazon and and other e-commerce companies sell products, and have a subscription to prime, or subscription to every months grocery, does that count against the 30%? Cause it’s not an in app purchase... I’m not using my Apple ID to purchase any prime subscription.. or like Instagram promotion money.. does Apple take 30% cut in that too? Can anyone please explain it to me?
  6. fairuz macrumors 68020


    Aug 27, 2017
    Silicon Valley
    They take a 30% cut if and only if you make the payment through an in-app purchase, i.e. one that uses your iTunes Store / Apple ID balance or payment method. Amazon et. al. avoid this by doing everything through their own payment systems.

    Spotify was annoyed earlier because for some reason Apple wouldn't let them direct users to their own site for signup, so like half the users were paying through IAPs and giving Apple 30% for that first year's subscription.
  7. Madmic23 macrumors 6502a

    Apr 21, 2004
    Apple doesn’t let anyone have a direct link out of their app to their own website for payment. They say it’s for “security,” but I call it BS. They started that years ago when Amazon and Kobo could still sell ebooks direct from their apps. Apple realized they were losing money, so they put in this anti-competitive rule to make it easy for people to buy iBooks, but difficult to buy Kindle books. I’m fine with hem taking a 30% cut when it’s extra levels for a game, or something hosted on Apple’s servers. But when it’s a subscription or content coming from someone else’s servers, it’s just wrong.

    And that’s the end of my 30% rant.
  8. Apple blogger macrumors 6502a

    Feb 28, 2013
    [post deleted by user]
    --- Post Merged, Feb 12, 2018 ---

    Correct, but see this.. Amazon has a prime subscription and Netflix has their own subscription. While a prime purchase, essentially is sold as just another product on amazon, Apple doesn’t receive 30%, so then how come Netflix cannot do the same?
  9. TriBruin macrumors regular

    Jul 28, 2008
    Netflix can and does. If you go to the Netflix website you can sign up for the same price you would get through the iOS App and Apple would get $0 from your subscription. For Netflix, they must have determined that they get enough extra subscriptions from iOS users via Apple to offset the loss of 30% of revenue.

    Amazon, on the other hand, doesn't feel that they need to get people to pay through Apple and would rather you sign-up on their own site.

    Personal, if there is an option to sign-up without going through Apple, I will. I don't believe the Apple's instance on 30% is justified for services such as Amazon Prime or Netflix (or HBOGo, etc.) I would rather the money go the company that is providing the service. I paid Apple more than enough money for the iPhone and iPad I use.
  10. canadianreader macrumors 6502a


    Sep 24, 2014
  11. makr macrumors regular

    Feb 16, 2016
    Those companies need money for their everyday operation. Why would news be free?
  12. JackieInCo Suspended

    Jul 18, 2013
    Because you can get the same news the site wanting money for, for free anywhere else.

    I frequently tap on links in the Google app that take me to the Washington Post. They want me to login before I can read the article. I back out and search Google for the title I just tried to read and end up getting the same article on a free site.
  13. cupcakes2000 macrumors 6502

    Apr 13, 2010
    The same headline rarely equates to the same story/article. It’s all about whether you trust the news outlet and whether they are putting a somehow bias spin on something.
    A story in The Guardian may well have the same headline or searchable terms as a story in the Daily Mail - but I can assure you that it would be an entirely different read.
  14. Smartass macrumors 65816

    Dec 18, 2012
    Well, just because you can read it on the internet, it doesnt mean that somebody did all the research and writing for free. People/companies still need money for publishing news and paying their reporters.
  15. Order_66 macrumors member


    May 18, 2016
    So basically someone will pay to get something that is biased according to their beliefs or ideology, got it.
  16. NSeven macrumors member


    Jul 14, 2009
    As a developer 30% is fine.. They give you all the tools to develop, portals to upload the work you have made, and a store to sell it on.. Suppose you didn't think about all the back end infrastructure involved when you wrote that.
  17. Apple blogger macrumors 6502a

    Feb 28, 2013

    What you said doesn’t answer my question.. I think you haven’t understood... I can buy a prime subscription on the amazon app directly. However, that subscription doesn’t get counted as an in app purchase. It’s like a product sold on the amazon app. Whereas on the Netflix app, the subscription is counted as an in app subscription.

    It’s just that amazon sells it like any other product on their store and not through apples distribution.. but if that’s the case, how come they can sell a subscription but Netflix can’t get away with it?

    Another question arises too.. Apple doesn’t take 30% cut if it’s not an in app purchase, amazon sells its own products and acts as an agent website, but Apple doesn’t get a cut.. similarly, Facebook here is acting as an agent, but apple is getting a cut.. why’s that?
  18. sracer macrumors G3


    Apr 9, 2010
    Yes, perhaps for some developers it is a decent arrangement. However, there is a tipping point. For feature-rich apps that rival desktop counterparts, it isn't such a good deal. The time and money spent to develop such an app is significant. Apple taking a 30% cut of all sales means that it will take a long time, if ever, for the developer to recover the cost. That's not to say that desktop-quality iOS apps don't exist, but that the current arrangement is holding things back.

    It's a moot point anyways because it is a walled garden. Want to sell an app for iOS, you MUST go through Apple. There is no other choice. In contrast, for macOS where there IS a choice (app store or developer's site), the macOS app store isn't as robust.
  19. TriBruin macrumors regular

    Jul 28, 2008
    Ok, in that case, I am not 100%, but here are a few ideas:

    1) Prime is NOT primarily a media subscription service, but still a delivery service. Apple's rules on taking a cut only seem to apply to services which deliver electronic media (and, thus, compete with Apple.)

    2) Since the Amazon App is a shopping App and not a media delivery App, it bypasses the rules. For example, it appears I can easily buy a Kindle book in the Amazon App, but I can NOT buy the book directly in the Kindle App.

    Other than that, I can't say the exact reason. But, as we know, Apple's App Store rules are NOT consistent and even handed.
    --- Post Merged, Feb 13, 2018 ---
    I think, more importantly/frustratingly, is that Apple also wants 30% (lowering to 15% after the first year) for payments for which they provide no additional service. Once a user has downloaded the Netflix App, what value does Apple add to justify taking a huge margin? (It is reported that Spotifys gross margins are less than 30%, so every subscription sold through Apple is automatically a loss.)

    For the initial App purchase, 30% is reasonable. However, taking 30% on purchases where they provide no backend services hurts the developers (and put them at a competitive disadvantage as compared to Apple's offerings.)
  20. Ramchi macrumors 6502a


    Dec 13, 2007
    Freaking 30% guys!! I am using iPhone, do I need to pay 30% of my salary!!
  21. jacksmith21006 macrumors member


    Aug 5, 2016
    Apple has a very, very valuable on ramp and customer data should be maximizing the return on it. They are no longer growing and with the iPhone X demand non sustaining as long as hoped this is how Apple can grow. Rumor is that Google is also paying them for access to the iPhone users.

    Apple doing this more and more and then buybacks they should be able to give share holders a decent return. Not great and growth like you can get from something like Google but a pretty safe investment.
  22. H3LL5P4WN macrumors 68000


    Jun 19, 2010
    Pittsburgh PA
    Will this extra revenue make the Facebook app no longer be a resource hog, or block (actual) fake news, or ban animal murderers, racists, and gun nuts from the site?

    I almost kept from laughing while typing that. Almost.
  23. KazKam macrumors 6502


    Oct 25, 2011
    Because information is free by nature. Putting any information behind a paywall/firewall/brick wall is like trying to regulate air in the atmosphere. Eventually it's gonna get out.
  24. makr macrumors regular

    Feb 16, 2016
    Gathering information is not free, their employee actively work for looking for news, taking photographs and maintaining a website/printers etc.
    Eventually truth will be heard, but it may be too late.

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