According to internal emails (via 9To5Mac) that were revealed during the Epic Games vs Apple lawsuit over the dispute regarding the fees charged by Apple within its App Store, it was revealed that employees at the company were considering providing special treatment to Netflix in a bid to keep the streaming service’s subscriptions still on the App Store. What followed saw Netflix remove its subscription offering from the app to avoid the fees charged by Apple.
In relation to this, a presentation circulated which contained within it a proposal to advertise Netflix within its retail stores and use a portion of App Store commissions to pay for search ads and even bundle the streaming service with other services offered by the Cupertino based company.
Bundles, Ads and More: What Netflix Was Offered
The email begins with an explanation of a test that Netflix wanted to conduct in a bid to study the impact of disabling in-app purchases on iOS. The main concern of Netflix, as mentioned by the Director of the App Store Business Management, Carson Oliver, was over the voluntary churn of subscribers through the App Store.
The exact figure is not provided, but it seems to suggest that Netflix subscribers from the App Store cancelled the service more than subscribers who joined it via the official site of the OTT platform.
Another email from 2018 mentions that Apple employees had created a presentation explaining the importance of in-app purchases, including reminders of things Apple had done for Netflix, such as offering discounts and letting them determine which shows and movies to write about in the App store.
Additionally, it also mentions how Apple did all of the promotion for Netflix in the editorial section of the store and calls out that Netflix was featured to a much greater extent than that of others, leading to around 6-7% higher downloads.
Within the same presentation, it is also mentioned how Apple is considering floating more benefits to Netflix, some of which were better than what the company publicly offers to other developers. It was stressed, however, that these were part of the ‘What We Could Do’ section, and they had not been approved.
Certain other benefits included the addition of email campaigns meant for promoting Netflix and carving out a portion of subscription fees to advertise the app and even bundle it with certain services.