Hulu, the paid TV and movie streaming service, has updated its Hulu Plus app to comply with Apple’s recently-revised rules on in-app subscription pricing, as reported by All Things Digital today, removing a link allowing users to go to the Hulu site to purchase a subscription.
Hulu’s app had first debuted in the App Store last summer followed by a substantial update and subscription price reduction in November. Hulu Plus has been a regular in the Top 200 Free Entertainment apps for the iPad since its release.
Here’s what Hulu Plus displayed before (courtesy of AllThingsD):
And here’s what the Hulu Plus displays now in version 2.3.2:
See how that link to the Hulu Plus site is now missing from the bottom of the log-in-screen? If you’re unfamiliar with the Hulu Plus service, using the app now will certainly not provide you with any clues on how to sign up and you’ll probably be turning to your new BFF, Google, to get more information on where to go from here.
Apple revised its guidelines quietly earlier this month, removing the requirement that publishers make content available outside of an app available for purchase within an app at the same price or less:
11.13 Apps that link to external mechanisms for purchases or subscriptions to be used in the app, such as a “buy” button that goes to a web site to purchase a digital book, will be rejected
Apps from other content providers, like the ebook apps by Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and others that offer links or direct access to their respective ebook stores, are sure to follow suit in order to remain in the App Store. I read ebooks almost exclusively over paper books and the lack of these links within apps will make it more difficult for me to get to those ebook stores. While it’s good to see Apple relaxing restrictions for developers that had the potential to push publishers to not offer content to iOS device users, it’s disheartening that the new guidelines will make some tasks harder for consumers in the end.