News publishers who participate in Apple News will be eligible to reduce Apple’s cut of first-year in-app subscriptions from 30% to 15%, Apple announced Thursday.
According to CNBC, the move is the latest example of Apple carving out exceptions for its 30% fee for in-app purchases for different industries and types of businesses under increasing scrutiny and criticism from app developers, competitors and regulators.
Apple News is an app that comes pre-installed on iPhones that displays a variety of news stories in a single interface. It has 125 million monthly active users, Apple said, and the app is part of the company’s growing services business that accounted for 21% of Apple’s sales in the most recent quarter.
In order to secure the reduction, the publishers will have to apply to a new program Apple is calling the News Partner Program.
It will require news publishers to agree to supply all their content to Apple in its preferred Apple News file format and that they provide metadata, or information about the stories, required by Apple. Publishers will also be required to have an active, robust presence in the markets where Apple News is available.
Publishers will be able to apply to the program on Apple’s website starting Thursday.
Participants in the program will also be able to get the reduced 15% take rate in the first year for subscriptions initiated through both their own app as well as the Apple News app. Some publications have paywalls on Apple News and allow readers to subscribe through the app.
News publishers are not the highest grossing apps on the App Store. In the U.S., the top 10 grossing publishers booked just more than $68 million in revenue in the first seven months of 2021, said Sensor Tower, a firm tracking App Store trends. Those companies include the publishers of The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Bloomberg News and CNBC, all of which sell subscription access to paywalled stories through Apple’s App Store.
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