Google recently sent out an email to some of its YouTube TV subscribers with a warning: If you signed up for your YouTube TV live TV streaming subscription using an Apple App Store app (like YouTube TV for iPhone or iPad), your subscription is about to be automatically canceled.
MacRumors got its hands on one of these emails and here’s what it says:
You’re currently subscribed to YouTube TV through Apple in-app purchases, so we’re writing to let you know that, starting March 13, 2020, YouTube TV will no longer accept payment through Apple in-app purchases.
YouTube TV members will still be able to watch YouTube TV content on Apple devices.
You’ll be billed for one final month of service and then your in-app purchase subscription will be canceled automatically on your billing date after March, 13, 2020.
This means that folks who have been paying for their YouTube TV subscription through Apple’s billing system will have to log in to their YouTube TV accounts on the web and arrange for an alternative payment method or risk losing access to their live TV streaming service on any of the devices that YouTube TV supports, including the PlayStation 4 and 4 Pro, on which it is now the only live TV streaming option.
The reason for the abrupt shift in billing procedures is likely due to Apple’s in-app purchase policies. Typically, these dictate that Apple gets 30% of the amount charged for the first year of a subscription and then 15% after that period. YouTube TV charges a $50 flat fee for its live TV streaming platform which includes more than 70 channels, plus on-demand movies and shows.
Clearly YouTube was OK with the billing arrangement for a time or it would not have agreed to Apple’s terms, but something has changed. News that Google is considering adding premium subscription options to its flagship YouTube service may give us a clue as to why the change is coming now.
YouTube TV has offered several premium add-ons for its service, like Showtime, Starz, and AMC Premiere. But some big names, especially HBO, aren’t included. If Google is considering expanding the number of premium add-ons, it might be very reluctant to share those revenues with Apple, which presumably it would have to do for subscribers who are using Apple’s in-app purchases.
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