Apple announced Thursday it would cut its in-app subscriptions for the first year by 30% to 15% for news publications part of Apple News.
Apple’s latest move shows it is willing to make exceptions from its 30% in-app payment fee for certain industries and types of businesses. Apple is still under greater scrutiny by regulators, competitors, and app developers.
Apple News is an iPhone application that comes preinstalled. Apple claims that it has over 125 million monthly active users. Apple’s services business is growing, and the app makes up 21% of its most recent quarter’s revenue.
To secure the reduction, the publishers will have to apply to a new program Apple is calling the News Partner Program.
The agreement will require news publishers to provide all content in Apple’s preferred Apple News format to Apple and provide metadata (information about the stories) to Apple. Publishers must also have a strong presence in all markets where Apple News is accessible.
Starting Thursday, publishers will be able to apply for the program via Apple’s website.
Program participants will receive a 15% discount on subscriptions that they initiate through Apple News.
The App Store doesn’t have the most popular news apps. Sensor Tower, an app trends firm, said that the top 10 highest-grossing news publishers in the U.S. made just over $68,000,000 in revenue in the first seven months of 2021. These publishers all sell subscription access via Apple’s App Store for paywalled stories.
App Store fees have not been the only program to be reduced.
Apple charges 30% to make in-app purchases for the first year. However, this rate is reduced to 15% for those who subscribe for a second year.
Apple launched the App Store Small Business program last year. This allows companies with less than $1million in annual net sales to Apple to get a lower take rate of 15%.
Apple offers 15% off video providers that integrate with Siri.
Apple announced Wednesday the program’s launch to assist publishers and ensure that customers have access to quality news sources.
This announcement comes as Apple’s 30% share in most app purchases is under increasing pressure.
A bipartisan bill currently being debated in Congress would target Apple’s in-app payment system and require the company to allow app developers to use other payment processors that charge less.
A decision on an antitrust case involving Apple’s App store policies is expected to be made later in the year.
Many foreign governments are currently reviewing Apple’s App Store policies and the 30% reduction.
Apple has argued in court that its 30% commission is essentially the same as other online software stores like Google Play or stores for video game consoles, and Apple’s fee has decreased over time.
Apple stated that publishers were not informed about the program prior to its launch. Publishers who sign up for the program can still sell ads in Apple News or use other business models such as affiliate links.
This program cannot be used with Apple News+. It costs $9.99 per month in the U.S.
Apple News cannot be accessed outside the U.S. or U.K., Canada, Australia, or any other Apple services.
Apple has hired human editors to curate its Apple Newsfeeds and to compile special packages for topics like the coronavirus pandemic and the 2020 elections.