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Suggested changes to Roku billing options

I use Roku billing but it does fall short in terms of flexibility when compared to other app/channel stores.

I have a couple of suggestions, two of which would likely be something you could implement quickly, the other might take a little more work:

The first two are:

The ability to change channel description and channel website description without having to submit a new channel

The ability to change prices of paid channels (both one off and subscription) without having to submit a new channel.
(No change in terms, i.e. existing customers are re-billed at their original price, new customers are billed at the new rate)

My final request is a possibly a bit more complicated, but offers great flexibility.

Currently paid subscriptions are re-billed automatically at the original price, regardless of any price changes. This is the correct and fair thing to do if the customer is being automatically re-billed.

Can I suggest Flexible subscription rebilling which would allow price changes in subscriptions. If the price changes it would inform the customer that their subscription was ending, show them the new price and ask them to confirm that they wish to continue with their subscription. That would offer a major benefit to people using Roku billing to be allowed to change.

Subscription channels would choose either Fixed or Flexible rebilling. Fixed meaning any price changes only affect NEW subscribers and not old ones. Flexible meaning price changes affect ALL subscribers as detailed above.

Thoughts?
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6 Replies
Roku Employee
Roku Employee

Re: Suggested changes to Roku billing options

The first two are not likely to change as we don't want people to be able to arbitrarily change the text and graphics in the Channel store without our reviewing it first. Your other suggestion is a good one though it would probably require some firmware changes. The ability to change the price without are having to review the change would also be useful for developers and to save us trouble internally having to review the change every time. I'll pass these on to the billing people.

- Joel
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EnTerr
Level 8

Re: Suggested changes to Roku billing options

Can i ask* a related question?
Currently as things stand, can one run "sales" of channels and in-app purchases, akin to what's customary** in Apple AppStore, Google Play and Amazon Market?

In other words, publisher can change price as they see fit, maybe have the channel free for a day to celebrate anniversary etc - all of that as a self-service? And that can be done at any one point of time with no delay/approval (spare server replication delays).

If N/A, please add this feature.

(*) Yeah, i probably would have known the answer if i had submitted the danged paperwork to the Co. Feel free to mock me about it.
(**) E.g. see http://appshopper.com/games/plants-vs-zombies (appShopper is 3rd party site, tracking app activities)
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Roku Employee
Roku Employee

Re: Suggested changes to Roku billing options

"EnTerr" wrote:
In other words, publisher can change price as they see fit, maybe have the channel free for a day to celebrate anniversary etc - all of that as a self-service? And that can be done at any one point of time with no delay/approval (spare server replication delays).


Like I said, this is a really good idea and would reduce the headache on our side as well, I've passed it on to the finance people.

- Joel
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EnTerr
Level 8

Re: Suggested changes to Roku billing options

"RokuJoel" wrote:
Like I said, this is a really good idea and would reduce the headache on our side as well, I've passed it on to the finance people.

Actually what you said was:
"RokuJoel" wrote:
The first two are not likely to change as we don't want people to be able to arbitrarily change the text and graphics in the Channel store without our reviewing it first. Your other suggestion is a good one though ...
where #2 was self-service (no review wait) on prices. See above
"steveintheukok" wrote:

The first two are:
The ability to change channel description and channel website description without having to submit a new channel

The ability to change prices of paid channels (both one off and subscription) without having to submit a new channel.


What you have said was unclear, even contradictory. Instead of pointing out that or over-think on your wording, i just asked separately what i wanted. But now, as you wave your finger "As i said...", i am explaining. <sigh> Please don't be mad at me, Joel - for trying to understand what you meant to say.

Do i get this right, now?
- currently the only way to change app price (or one-time in-app purchase) is to re-submit channel for full review
- we have common understanding that allowing publishers to float prices on their own is a good idea and passed for approval
- we agree ability to change text and graphic (#1) is completely different from #2 and not a good idea (once upon a time it was abused a lot in iOS store; e.g. by getting approval for one thing and then changing name/text/photos to completely another, then sit back and collect $$ for couple of weeks, till scam gets flagged enough to be taken down)
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Roku Employee
Roku Employee

Re: Suggested changes to Roku billing options

- currently the only way to change app price (or one-time in-app purchase) is to re-submit channel for full review


No, but that is the best way - channel update submissions send us all internal emails that are hard to miss, otherwise, you can email us and we can publish the properties update without submitting a channel, but the first way, even if we miss your email, we have a big fat yellow channel update waiting on our console so we will eventually get to it.

- we have common understanding that allowing publishers to float prices on their own is a good idea and passed for approval


This is what I was saying I think is a good idea, as is the O.Ps idea about renewal price change notices, however both of these would require firmware and service side changes in order to support. These ideas have not yet been approved by anyone other than myself in my own brain.

Hope that is a bit more clear.

- Joel
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EnTerr
Level 8

Re: Suggested changes to Roku billing options

"RokuJoel" wrote:
No, but that is the best way - channel update submissions send us all internal emails that are hard to miss, otherwise, you can email us and we can publish the properties update without submitting a channel, but the first way, even if we miss your email, we have a big fat yellow channel update waiting on our console so we will eventually get to it.

Got it - "channel submission" as guaranteed way (but likely slow - reviewer to check if other things have changed - bundle/behavior/descriptions etc); alternatively direct email requests as fast-but-unreliable push. Thanks for clarifying the process!

I think is a good idea, as is the O.Ps idea about renewal price change notices, however both of these would require firmware and service side changes in order to support. These ideas have not yet been approved by anyone other than myself in my own brain.

Right right, i know you are part of a big machine and all wheels would have had to turn in certain way for this to happen. But "a journey of thousand miles begins with a single step" and if there is some shared interest on both sides, it's more likely to happen. (Seems win-win - it's humane thing to do to ease reviewers - and publishers could run sales on their own at granularity as fine as hours, if they so please.)

Personally i only care about the one-time purchases pricing. The "fixed vs flexible" distinction of @steveintheukok's #3 idea is not even clear to me - can't developer do that already by creating new subscription item and upsell/downsell user with own dialogs? It seems very unlikely case to need in practice:
  1. if subscription goes up, it's customary to "grand-father" existing users (e.g. recent Netflix and Amazon Prime price hikes), since it makes sense economically (when presented with choice of price hike or cancel, prevailing # cancel - and getting some$ beats getting no$)

  2. if new price is lower, it is established practice to have user manually* request price adjust ("price discrimination" from microeconomics - people that care are bothered enough to do it - vs those who never hear about it nor care, from those the content provider skims more).


(*) one way would be cancel, then re-enroll; or in real-life example call/badger the credit card/phone/cable company and be granted "new deal" by the "retention department"
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