Video streaming giant, Netflix, has launched a new free Android mobile plan in Kenya that will allow users to watch a limited selection of its catalogue, including full seasons of selected shows. The plan is ad-free and will give users the option to sign up without having to enter any payment information (but they’ll need to verify that they are 18 years of age, or older, and will still need to submit an email address to create a login). Netflix said it hopes that users who enjoy using the service will eventually upgrade to one of its paid subscriptions, which support streaming from TVs and laptops as well.
The non-paying Netflix subscribers in Kenya will not be counted in the paid total which the company reports each quarter, a Netflix spokesperson said. Additionally, the free plan in Kenya will look similar to paid Netflix profiles to give viewers a feel for the service, the spokesperson said. The app will also mark the shows and movies that are not included in the free plan with a lock icon; if users click on those movies and shows then they will be prompted to sign up for the paid option. However, the free plan does not allow users to download a show or movie.
In recent years, Netflix has experimented with a range of plans in recent years to gain customers in developing markets. In July, the video streaming giant introduced a new mobile-only subscription plan that is 50-60 percent lower than the price of the basic Netflix offering for users in Sub Saharan Africa. It also introduced the Play Partial Download feature that allows users to watch their favourite titles or a TV show’s next episode, even if it hasn’t been completely downloaded.
Netflix said it was introducing the new plan because the African market is most famous for downloading and that the feature would enable members to save time and money, as Africans have pivoted to offline viewing after cellular data prices have increased in markets. Additionally, Netflix believes the new free plan will help it edge over competition from rivals such as IrokoTV, and Showmax– a video streaming platform owned by African entertainment giant, Multichoice Group. The video streaming company, which currently streams in 190 countries, has ambitions to dominate the region, based on data stats that show that there will be 475 million people using the mobile internet by 2025 in Nigerian and South African markets.
Netflix is however yet to make clarifications on the validity of this new plan in Kenya, and whether the plan will be offered in other markets as well.