Apple introduces ‘offer codes’ to entice app users, help developers, and boost its services business

Presented by 43Twenty

Last Wednesday, we hosted a workshop titled “How to keep your subscribers from hurling their remote at the TV” at the OTT.X Summit, which was a fantastic event. Retaining subscribers on platforms that you own requires a culture that your organization is obsessed with delivering optimal customer experiences. The average household has access to over 100,000 hours of SVOD available to them. The plethora of content choices has evolved into a significant pain point for streamers. To attract, grow, and retain subscribers on platforms you own, scaling empathy across each touchpoint, including marketing campaigns, not only keeps consumers from launching the remote, but it is also the key to surviving the streaming wars. Come grab a copy of the deck we presented, which delves into:

  1. Why OTT brands must focus on product experiences vs. relying on distribution or become faced-with both revenue leakage and data loss

  2. Why MAU is a vanity metric & how to grow subscribers/viewers with customer-centric KPIs

  3. Specific examples citing who is doing it right, and which brands have ample room for improvement

Apple introduces ‘offer codes’ to entice app users, help developers with subscriber acquisition while boosting its own services business

Apple announced that developers will be able to offer subscriptions via a new feature, called offer codes. These one-time use codes can be used digitally or printed out for use at offline events, allowing developers to more easily distribute either free or discounted subscriptions to customers. Apple says the feature can help developers acquire, retain and win back subscribers. Developers will be able to choose from one of three different pricing options for the new codes, which can be set to whatever duration the developer chooses. A free offer code will allow subscribers access to the service without charge for a specific trial period. A pay-as-you-go offer would allow the subscribers to pay a discount during each billing period for a specific duration, like a $1.99 per month trial that converts to a $9.99 per month standard subscription after a few months, for example. The third option is the pay-up-front offer, which allows subscribers to pay a one-time price for a specific duration, like $9.99 up front for a six-month subscription. When the subscription renews, the developer could then introduce standard pricing. Link

Why it matters

While the feature will help developers acquire, retain and win back subscribers, offer codes benefit Apple just as much as it does its development partners and it does not address developer complaints from developers and companies alike including Epic Games, Netflix, Spotify, Youtube TV, and others that Apple’s platform tax is too high at 30% for year one, followed by a drop to 15% in the second year and beyond. Affiliates are great, don’t get me wrong. But if you’re an OTT service, it’s your number one job to ensure your subscribers transact directly with you

Eager to lure subscribers, HBO Max launches a 20% price discount

Looking to boost subscribers as the third quarter of 2020 winds down, WarnerMedia is offering HBO Max for $11.99 per month for the next 12 months. That’s a 20% discount off the regular $14.99 price and an annual savings of $36.

The company launched a similar 20% discount on HBO Max in the month leading up the May 27 launch. However, that promo was available only via direct signups with WarnerMedia. With the new “Save for 12” offer, the $11.99 monthly price for HBO Max is available through WarnerMedia as well as participating partners Apple (on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and Apple TV), Google, Hulu, YouTube TV, Comcast Xfinity, RCN, Grande Communications and Wave. Link

Why it matters

Overall, this is good and WarnerMedia should expect to pick up some subscribers, however, what I don’t get is that WarnerMedia was pretty adamant about building its DTC (or “retail”) customer base when they launched HBO Max back in May. Did that change?  By offering customers the same deal, no matter where and how they subscribe to HBO Max is the exact reason they’ve become a glorified “add-on” and not a direct-to-consumer video service that’s able to leverage companies like Roku and Amazon. I warned companies about this years ago.  As I mentioned above, building a DTC business is all about giving customers a reason to do business directly with you. But this campaign seems like WarnerMedia is going after subs, regardless of whether they’re retail or wholesale. Currently, WarnerMedia parent AT&T is reportedly looking to offload its DirecTV pay-TV business after having kicked the tires on selling it a year back. And last Tuesday, The Wall Street Journal reported that AT&T is also exploring the sale of its Xandr ad tech business. So will AT&T try to sell WarnerMedia next? Digiday raises the question “Is AT&T on its way out of the media business?”

Epic asks court to put Fortnite back in the App Store 

Epic Games filed a preliminary injunction on Friday asking the court to put Fortnite back in the App Store. This comes a week after the release of the latest chapter of Fortnite, which is not available on iOS or macOS due to the brawl between Epic and Apple over platform tax. Epic claims that  it’s being retaliated against for “daring to challenge Apple’s misconduct.” Link Read Epic’s new, full argument why a court should force Apple to reinstate Fortnite. Link

Why it matters

While this is not a gaming newsletter, it’s a more mature industry than online video. And when you look at the issues facing OTT publishers, game developers have worked through many of the same issues over the past decade; the way they collect data, monetize the culture of experimentation, etc. The platform wars have already begun to take place in the OTT video space and you should expect to see an increase in disputes or boycotts similar to the following:

Carriage disputes are not uncommon, so I’m exactly Nostradamus when I predicted more of the same, but there’s a different tone to the WarnerMedia and Epic Games cases. These companies aren’t jockeying for a couple of extra affiliate bucks. These companies are taking a stand firm on how their products are packaged and sold to consumers.  And this all comes at a time when Apple is being scrutinized in the United States, United Kingdom, and now Italy on how it conducts its business with developers. Australia is also looking into the practices as well.

More from the front lines

Disney and Amazon cut an 11th-hour deal for ‘Mulan’ on Disney+ Link Developers Can Now Formally Challenge Apple's App Store Rejections. Link Apple Will Delay Rollout of Part of iOS 14, a Relief to App Developers. Link Hidden Code on the Disney+ Site Suggests a Watch Party Feature Is Coming. Link


Helping (DTC) streaming services and (B2B) solutions providers accelerate their OTT businesses.

43Twenty is an OTT growth consultancy and digital marketing agency. We help media, entertainment, and technology companies unlock customer growth and revenue

Discover more here or send us email to schedule a meeting.


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More than half of global ad spend forecast to be spent on digital media this year. Link

As AT&T considers downsizing its media business, whither WarnerMedia? Link

78% of U.S. households have an SVOD service. Link


Here's a list of some available opportunities within the media and entertainment space. If you have any job listings that you'd like us to share, contact

General Manager, Latin America - HBO Max


Miami, FL

Director of Mobile Engineering

Sony Pictures Entertainment

Culver City, CA

Director, International Business Operations


San Francisco, CA

Supervisor, Distribution Operations- Fox Technology

Fox Corporation

Tempe, AZ

Manager, Marketing Partnerships, Devices, Peacock

NBCUniversal Media

New York, NY

Chief Revenue Officer


San Francisco, CA

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