Companies like Apple and Google have their own billing system for apps that they want developers to use. This is because by doing so, Apple and Google can take a cut of app sales and in-app purchases, something that many developers are trying to avoid since it means less revenue for them.
To Google’s credit, they have been slightly more lenient on this front, at least until earlier this month where the new policies have come into effect, prohibiting developers from linking users to an external site that circumvents Google’s billing system. Apps like Barnes & Noble and Amazon’s Audible were affected, and now it looks like Hulu is next.
Now whenever users try to sign up for a Hulu account via the Android app, they are greeted by a message that reads:
“Are you trying to sign up for Hulu?
Sorry, we’re unable to do sign ups in the app. If you’re already a subscriber, log in below to start watching.”
The new UI also removes references to a free trial to Hulu and also Hulu’s starting price of $5.99 a month. For those who aren’t as tech savvy, this could be confusing as they might be wondering how they can sign up for a Hulu account or start a free trial. Instead, users will now need to go to Hulu’s website directly and sign up for an account there.
Of course, Hulu could have easily given in and used Google’s billing system, but like we said, this will result in lower revenue as a cut will have to go to Google. Alternatively, Hulu could increase its price to cover the “Google tax”, but we imagine that it will not sit well with customers.
To be fair, Google did inform developers about these changes way back in September 2020 and gave them more than a year to make any changes, so it wasn’t as if anyone was blindsided.