Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Apple Describes Its Video Partner Program


This program is designed for apps that deliver premium subscription video entertainment services. Participating apps are required to integrate with a number of Apple technologies, such as Universal Search, Siri, AirPlay, and single sign-on or zero sign-on, to ensure a seamless experience for customers.

As a result of this integration, these apps are featured on the Apple TV app and throughout tvOS, and their content is discoverable through Universal Search and Siri.

As a program member, you earn 85% of sales from customers who sign up using Apple’s in-app purchase system. You may also allow customers who subscribe using your payment method outside of the app to use that payment method for additional video transactions within the app. You must enable in-app purchase to enjoy these economic benefits.

Via Michael Tsai:

Netflix does not participate, having abandoned IAP and AirPlay, but it still enjoys the “reader” clause in the guidelines, which exempts certain types of apps from having to offer IAP. The guidelines incentivize multi-platform apps. If all you have is an iOS version, IAP is required.

This seems to be the until-now undocumented agreement between Apple and Amazon revealed earlier this year which Apple describes as being available “since 2016”. I’m sure that comes as a surprise to many developers, as does its use by, apparently, “over 130” partners.

There are a bunch of requirements that partners must fulfill, including apps for both iOS and tvOS, and support for a bunch of platform features. In exchange, Apple halves its commission for in-app purchases. I think it is telling of the Apple TV’s lack of impact that developers of iOS apps are expected to support new platform features with little incentive other than, perhaps, an App Store promotion, while Apple has to effectively bribe tvOS developers.