Netflix began offering on September 20, a free mobile plan with about one-quarter of its TV shows and movies in Kenya. The strategy is aimed at sparking growth in a key African market.
The free plan is available on Android mobile phones and does not contains ads. It features Netflix movies and TV shows such as dramas "Money Heist" and "Bridgerton" and African series "Blood & Water," plus some of the programming the company licenses from others.
Netflix hopes the free plan will lead to users signing up for a paid option with more content. In order to attract customers in Africa, Netflix is investing in locally made programming such as "Queen Sono" and "Jiva!" and has partnered with production studios in Nigeria.
Cathy Conk, Director of Product Innovation at Netflix, commented on the project saying: "If you've never watched Netflix before, this is a great way to experience our service. And if you like what you see, it's easy to upgrade to one of our paid plans so you can enjoy our full catalog on your TV or laptop as well".
It has to be noted that Netflix has experimented with free offers before. In 2020, it made some episodes of series such as "Stranger Things" and movies including "To All the Boys I've Loved Before" available around the world for no charge via web browsers.
The free plan in Kenya is broader. It will look similar to paid Netflix profiles to give viewers a feel for the service. Shows that are not included in the free plan will be marked with a lock icon. Clicking on one of those titles will encourage the user-sign up for a paid option. Moreover, some functions, such as the ability to download a show or movie, will not be available under the free plan.
To recall, Netflix, which streams in more than 190 countries, has taken other steps to boost usage in Africa, including creation of a paid mobile-only plan and partnerships with local telecom operators to ease payments.