Netflix is ranked as the top-most app on iOS App Store in terms of worldwide consumer spend. Currently, subscriptions for Netflix on iOS go through the App Store’s billing process, but this might change soon as the streaming platform is reportedly looking to de-link subscription payments from the App Store, possibly to avoid paying Apple 30% of a user’s first subscription to the platform and 15% for renewals. Considering that consumers on App Store spend the most on Netflix, this could amount to a big chunk of money taken away from Apple, which is now the world’s biggest company after recently hitting the trillion-dollar market cap.
Netflix has been seen testing the new payments feature in India and other markets across Europe and Latin America. As per TechCrunch, until September 30, those applying for a new Netflix subscription or renewing their lapsed subscription in select European, Latin American or Asian markets will not be able to pay for it using iTunes and will instead get redirected to a mobile web page to log payment details with Netflix directly.
The test is being conducted in 33 markets and the full list of countries where the new billing feature is being tested includes - 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.
A Netflix customer service agent further confirmed that the test is being run since June, 2018. “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),” he said.
Commenting on the same, a Netflix spokesperson said, “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.”
Netflix is also testing another new feature to show video promos as ads in between binge-watching sessions. Netflix claims it is testing skippable video "recommendations" of its own content in between episodes to improve the user experience. However, users have spotted unskippable promos which seem more like ads that hamper the binge streaming experience.