In an apparent victory for publishers, Apple yesterday announced it would be relaxing its app subscription rules. The brief but important ruling announced that publishers are no longer obliged to sell subscriptions through Apple’s in-app purchase system.
Under the previous rules, publishers had to sell subscriptions through the app store as well as external websites, which saw Apple themselves claim 30% of revenue. However under the new terms, publishers can opt to sell solely through an external site therefore retaining 100% of the revenue.
Whilst previously, Apple insisted magazines sold through the app store had to be of equal or lesser value to any external price, the recent changes mean publishers no longer have to keep in-app prices the same or less than those offered externally.
Perhaps the only downside to the new rules for developers is Apple’s restriction on “link(s) to external mechanisms for purchases or subscriptions”, meaning apps cannot include signposts to external sites where a purchase might be made.
So what does this all mean? The amended rules largely represent a victory for developers, however the restriction on signposting within an app may slightly limit the impact of the new rules on external subscriptions for some.
Those best placed to benefit from this change however, are publishers who are able to take advantage of both sales channels available. One way of doing this is through a service like YUDU’s dual-subscription system. With this, publishers can sell via their site using a subscription service that runs parallel to Apple’s sales model.
For some publishers, this may this may represent a new strategy, however the potential to increase sales as a result of Apple’s revised rules makes these changes worth exploring.