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

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.



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9 months ago
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.
Rating: 17 Votes
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9 months ago

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.


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.
Rating: 8 Votes
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9 months ago
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.
Rating: 5 Votes
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9 months ago
yah, no thanks
Rating: 5 Votes
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9 months ago
Why would anyone subscribe and pay for news? Humm
Rating: 5 Votes
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9 months ago
Maybe now they will optimize their app for the iPad Pro
Rating: 3 Votes
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9 months ago

Those companies need money for their everyday operation. Why would news be free?

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.
Rating: 3 Votes
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9 months ago

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?

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.
Rating: 2 Votes
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9 months ago

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.


Reading paid news is definitely something that my generation and the upcoming ones do not see as a good use of money - I realize I'm generalizing but I don't know anyone who went to high school with me that pays for news. Now, my parents, my grandparents, and a lot of people in the 50-60+ range have newspaper subscriptions and magazine subscriptions.

I used to work for a boss that let me read his old WSJ papers and wow was that fun, but there was no way I could afford the $400/year? that WSJ cost - but I see the value in paid news, so I'm not bashing it at all.

I just don't know anyone that wants to pay for it.

That and every news company I go to is frigging LOADED with advertisements that I can't even focus on reading because every half page scroll there are 20 ads - even in the text. How do people focus and actually read anymore?!

You watch those old television shows and movies (60s or so) and you see them reading a news paper that is 90% print. Now I could see paying for that, in fact, I'd gladly pay for that.

But why in the **** would I pay for something that's 80% advertisement? That's why I personally can't stand to pay for it - even WSJ and Economist have too many ads on their website even if you pay their expensive fees. In the 2003-2009 years I had to stop my magazine subscriptions because even though they were $19.99/year, they became 80-90% advertisements.

I'd definitely re-consider it if they removed ALL ads for paying subscribers.


I'm finding more and more people that I know get their news from youtube channels that talk about current events or what not.
Rating: 2 Votes
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9 months ago

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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?


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.
Rating: 2 Votes
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