Oct 20th, 2017

Facebook’s new subscription tool will launch exclusively on Android after the social media giant failed to agree on terms with Apple. The service will allow news publishers to put up paywalls for some of their articles, which readers will need a subscription to enjoy.

Announced back in July, the new subscription tool was designed to help publishers sell premium subscriptions to their service. Users will be able to read some articles for free, while others will be behind a paywall. Facebook says it isn’t interested in taking a cut of the subscription fees.

Apple isn’t that generous, however. The company takes a 30 percent cut of every penny made on its platforms — which would include any subscription revenue Facebook generates through its app. Facebook wants all of that cash to go to publishers.

People familiar with both companies say they’ve been discussing the impasse for months,” reports Recode. “In the meantime, Facebook says it is rolling out a version of the subscription tool that will work on Android phones in the next few weeks.”

Google has agreed to waive its fees when Facebook users sign up to a subscription on Android. Facebook’s decision not to charge publishers itself is part of its Facebook Journalism Project, which hopes to create a “healthy news ecosystem.”

The social network remains confident, however, that it could reach a deal with Apple in the future.

We know subscriptions are an important business model for many in the news industry, that’s why we’ve been working hand-in-hand with publishers to create a product that will drive real value for them,” said Facebook’s Campbell Brown in a blog post.

We’re committed to this effort and optimistic that we’ll launch a test on all mobile platforms soon.”

As things stand, the subscription tool will be available exclusively on Android at launch.

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