Hulu Complies with Apple on New In-App Subscription Rules

Hulu has agreed to play nice with Apple. At least that’s how it looks as of Monday, when the Hulu Plus iPad application was updated to fully comply with Apple’s recently revamped In-App Subscription rules.

For Hulu, however, the update couldn’t have been less complicated. Hulu simply removed the link that sent potential subscribers to its Web site. The move comes in accordance with Apple’s new policy, which effectively prohibits “apps that link to external mechanisms for purchases or subscriptions to be used in the app.”

From Hulu’s vantage point, of course, there are some disadvantages to this arrangement, says Peter Kafka of All Things Digital. “That means that the app can no longer function as an effective advertising tool for the video service, which is a bummer for Hulu (which is owned by Comcast’s NBC, Disney’s ABC and News Corp.’s Fox; News Corp. also owns this Web site). It’d be quite useful to offer a smattering of free content on the app, then encourage users who want more stuff to click through to to pony up $8 a month.”

Had Hulu not pulled the plug on the subscription portal made available through the App Store interface, Hulu would have been forced to share a a 30% portion of the subscription revenue with Apple.

Still, while the new rules aren’t most convenient for prospective Hulu subscribers with an iPad, Hulu is actively promoting how users can still easily sign up for the service on the iPhone or iPad Mobile Safari browser. Usernames and passwords can immediately be entered into the official Hulu Plus iPad application for access to the service.