Publishers who use Apple’s subscription service in their app can also leverage other methods for acquiring digital subscribers outside of the app. For example, publishers can sell digital subscriptions on their web sites, or can choose to provide free access to existing subscribers. Since Apple is not involved in these transactions, there is no revenue sharing or exchange of customer information with Apple. Publishers must provide their own authentication process inside the app for subscribers that have signed up outside of the app. However, Apple does require that if a publisher chooses to sell a digital subscription separately outside of the app, that same subscription offer must be made available, at the same price or less, to customers who wish to subscribe from within the app. In addition, publishers may no longer provide links in their apps (to a web site, for example) which allow the customer to purchase content or subscriptions outside of the app.
Two interesting things here:
- Developers can keep 100% of subscription revenue if the subscription is done outside the app, but (and this is a big but) developers must offer a subscription through iTunes for the same (or less) cost. I don’t see many new subscribers doing so outside the app.
- This is the killer part for apps like the Kindle. Developers are no longer allowed to kick users out of the app to buy things (such as books). This will be interesting to see how it plays out, especially since there is a limit to the amount of items you can buy in-app. Apple isn’t done changing the way you buy books just yet — I am guessing there will be more to this announcement.