Facebook Won't Add News Subscription Service to iOS App Due to Apple's 30% Cut

Facebook is planning to introduce a feature that will let publishers sell subscriptions to their news sites directly on Facebook, but subscription purchases won't be available on iOS devices because Apple and Facebook are having trouble working out terms, reports Recode.

The feature will add paywalls to some articles in the Facebook news feed, directing users to the publisher's site to purchase a subscription. Apple wants to take a standard 30 percent cut of any subscription revenue brought in through the Facebook iOS app, while Facebook wants all of the money to go directly to publishers.


Facebook and Apple have reportedly been "discussing the impasse" for several months, and Facebook has decided to go ahead with a version of the feature that will only be available on Android phones. Facebook will be working with publishers like Bild, The Boston Globe, The Economist, Hearst (The Houston Chronicle and The San Francisco Chronicle), La Repubblica, Le Parisien, Spiegel, The Telegraph, tronc (The Baltimore Sun, The Los Angeles Times, and The San Diego Union-Tribune), and The Washington Post.

Through its subscription rules, Apple can take up to 30 percent of subscription revenue from in-app sales, though that number drops after a person has subscribed to a service on an iOS device for more than a year.

News subscription services won't be purchased directly on Facebook, but Apple still considers the feature to be an "in-app" purchase. Google does not plan to take a cut of subscriptions made through the Facebook for Android app.

In a statement to Recode, Facebook said it is "committed to this effort" and "optimistic" that a test will expand to "all mobile platforms" in the near future.


Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
8 months ago
And nothing of value is lost.

And I prefer Apple News to be the delivery vehicle for such service.
Rating: 9 Votes
Avatar
8 months ago

I'm still shocked Apple doesn't have anti-trust lawsuits by now.


If you’re shocked then I suspect you don’t understand these laws. Apple doesn’t owe anyone “shelf space” without a fee. Those data centers didn’t get built on unicorn wishes.
Rating: 8 Votes
Avatar
8 months ago
Let’s me get this straight. Facebook wants to add the ability to pay for news that is easily gettable anywhere and wants Apple to give them a distribution channel, but since Apple doesn’t work for free they are only going to fleece people on Android. And we are supposed to feel bad about this? Haha
Rating: 6 Votes
Avatar
8 months ago

Not like most would have paid to read articles on Facebook anyways. Why pay to read things available free elsewhere? This is the concept newspapers that try to require subscriptions don't seem to gather either.

You pay if it’s good content you can’t get elsewhere.

Anyway Apple should only get a cut in instances where it’s clear the iOS platform is driving traffic. And they shouldn’t get a recurring cut of monthly subscriptions like Netflix or Spotify. Especially when they’re not hosting content.
Rating: 4 Votes
Avatar
8 months ago
Not like most would have paid to read articles on Facebook anyways. Why pay to read things available free elsewhere? This is the concept newspapers that try to require subscriptions don't seem to gather either.
Rating: 3 Votes
Avatar
8 months ago
Why would anyone believe anything on Facebook (ok maybe from your friends) or buy anything there anyway? It has already been shown that they show false political ads and anything else that someone gives them money for. Apple charge any amount that FB won't agree to.
Rating: 3 Votes
Avatar
8 months ago
So Facebook is going to take users data and money?

Ballsy.
Rating: 2 Votes
Avatar
8 months ago

If you’re shocked then I suspect you don’t understand these laws. Apple doesn’t owe anyone “shelf space” without a fee. Those data centers didn’t get built on unicorn wishes.


Pretty sure news sites server their news on their own servers. Get a job.
Rating: 2 Votes
Avatar
8 months ago

I agree that Apple is overstepping its bounds here. This is content hosted by a third-party, and Apple has no right to dip into those funds.



Anyone that follows me here on MacRumors knows that I'm quite negative on Apple's strategy execution - and especially their [sub-par] management.


That being said, regarding in-app purchase fee - they are absolutely reasonable in charging a cut - as any other company would that considered in-app purchases an important source of revenue.


Last point, this comment I'm replying to and the following:

You'd have a valid point if either Facebook or the news company was hosting their data at Apple's data centers, but neither is.

Apple hosts the Facebook app (a whopping 235 MB) and that's all. Facebook wouldn't host it with Apple at all, except Apple refuses to allow developers to distribute apps outside the iOS App Store.



Is misguided. Apple is charging for the *ACCESS* to their customer base. Not the *hosting* of the content. This is how most businesses operate on a fundamental level. Companies have a customer base, that they protect very dearly - and give it up to other companies freely.

Welcome to the real world @ArtOfWarfare ('//forums.macrumors.com/members/artofwarfare.141718/') and [USER=11458]@coolfactor[/USER]
Rating: 2 Votes
Avatar
8 months ago

I'm still shocked Apple doesn't have anti-trust lawsuits by now.


And Walmart too. They want to take a 50% cut of most things in order to sell them in their stores. Not fair! And why do I have to pay eBay a cut in order to sell something on their platform? Let's start a petition against Amazon because I am tired of paying them $40 a month plus commissions to sell something on their platform.
Rating: 2 Votes
[ Read All Comments ]