Netflix is one of the highest-grossing apps on the iOS App Store, but it looks like the video streaming giant is contemplating how it might make an even bigger margin on its iPhone and iPad users. TechCrunch has learned and confirmed that Netflix, in its own words, is “testing the iTunes payment method” in 33 countries. More specifically, Netflix is testing how to bypass iTunes. Until September 30, new or lapsed subscribers in selected markets across Europe, Latin America and Asia will be unable pay using iTunes. They are instead getting redirected to the mobile web version to log payment details directly with Netflix. Others like Spotify also have moved users away from using iTunes to pay for subscriptions. It’s notable that both Spotify and Netflix have something else in common: Apple — now the world’s biggest company passing a $1 trillion market cap earlier this month — has made many big moves to encroach on their space, and thus it makes little sense for either company to cut Apple in more than it has to on its direct customer relationships. (You might say the same for Google.) Netflix’s iOS test was first spotted by NDTV in India last week, with users also flagging changes on Twitter. Journalist Manish Singh (in a tweet he then deleted) subsequently said Netflix was running a two-month experiment. A customer support agent contacted by us earlier today confirmed that the test has actually been running since June, starting first in 10 countries and then expanding to 33 from August 2 until September 30. “During this time, customers in these countries may experience any of the following when launching the Netflix app on an iOS (mobile or tablet) device: 1. Ability to sign up in app with only iTunes Mode Of Payment. 2.
Netflix tests a bypass of iTunes billing in 33 markets