Netflix's app on iOS now has a sign-up button that will redirect you to its site so you can subscribe to one of its plans with the company paying no App Store fees. This change comes after Apple said in March that "reader" apps — ones that provide digital content like books and videos — can offer an external link to their website for account creation.
The new sign-up screen, as spotted by 9to5Mac first, shows a button that will take you to netflix.com/join. But before you're redirected to the site, the app shows a warning screen that lets you know that you're not transacting using Apple's system anymore and all the processes related to that are managed by Netflix. This new button is rolling out for users across the globe.
Image Credits: Netflix
"Any account or purchases made outside of this app will be managed by the developer 'Netflix.' Your App Store account, stored payment methods, and related features, such as subscription management and refund requests, will not be available. Apple is not responsible for the privacy or security of transactions made with this developer," the warning modal says.
Image Credits: Netflix
Apple takes 30% fees (or 15% for small developers) from apps on selling subscriptions through the App Store's payment system. While Netflix historically allowed you to sign up for the service on your iPhone, it ditched the iTunes billing in 2018 to avoid paying the commission. Instead, Netflix's iOS app just provided a sign-in option with no in-app process or link to its website for creating your account. The streaming giant will hope that the new sign-up button on iOS will bring more new users to the platform.
In comparison, on Android, Netflix allows you to create an account by providing your email ID, and later sends you an email with information to purchase a plan to start using the app and watch content.
Epic Games' CEO Tim Sweeney commented on this new development by complaining that games still aren't allowed to do this. That's not surprising given the company's core argument in the lawsuit against Apple was App Store not permitting developers to use third-party payment methods for in-app purchases.
Now Netflix is sending iOS users to payment methods outside Apple’s 30% App Tax. Games aren’t allowed to do this. Can Roblox do it? Is that what the bizarre court exchange about Roblox graduating from “game” to “experience” was ultimately about?https://t.co/CpT09mRkXO
— Tim Sweeney (@TimSweeneyEpic) July 25, 2022
A report from Sensor Tower published earlier this month suggested that revenue generated by non-game apps on the U.S. App Store surpassed games revenue for the first time in May and June. If the trend continues, Apple might refine its rules for apps linking out for subscription purchases while avoiding App Store fees.
Last week, Netflix announced its Q2 2022 earnings with a loss of 970,000 subscribers; it lost 200,00 subscribers in the last quarter. Given the company's stock has plummeted by over 60% this year, it's in desperate need to get more people on its platform. The company has already talked about measures like adding extra fees for password sharing for members outside a household and an ad-supported plan that will launch next year.
Updated with comments from Netflix on global rollout