Free mobile plan from Netflix
On Monday 20th September, Netflix started offering a free mobile plan in Kenya that will allow users to watch a limited selection of its catalog, including full seasons of select shows.
This strategy with what is roughly a quarter of Netflix’s TV shows and movies is aimed at sparking growth in the country, which has been identified as a key African market.
Kenya, according to the communications sector regulator, currently has over 46 million internet users, a figure that puts it third in internet penetration in the African continent after Egypt and Nigeria.
Netflix hopes the free plan will lead to users signing up for a paid option with more content.
The free plan is available on Android mobile phones and will not have 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 licences from others.
The free plan will be rolled out in the country in the coming weeks and will not require anyone to provide any payment information during the sign-up process. However, you will still need to provide an email address to create a login.
The plan will only be available to those aged 18 and above, and will also not include ads.
Only a few functions, such as the ability to download a show or movie, will however not be available under the free plan.
Netflix exploring untapped markets
“If you’ve never watched Netflix before — and many people in Kenya haven’t — this is a great way to experience our service,” Cathy Conk, director of Product Innovation at Netflix. “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.” she went on.
Netflix has not yet disclosed how long it plans to offer the free tier in the country, and whether it is considering expanding this offering to other markets.
Despite also planning to add mobile games to its offering, Netflix only added 1.5 million net paying subscribers in the quarter that ended in June this year, lower than it had forecasted.
With increased competition from Amazon Prime Videos, Disney+ among other streaming platforms, markets outside the United States are being targeted to maintain faster growth rates. Earlier this year, Amazon also introduced a free ad-supported video streaming service within its shopping app in India to acquire more customers.
Final thoughts on Netflix free offering in Kenya
In an earlier article, I pointed out Kenya is still a relatively small market when it comes to video streaming, and this free plan from Netflix to entice new users backs the point.
What is clear, however, is that the tech giant looks at the region as a promising market which bodes well for the country as other streaming providers might end up joining creating competition in pricing and content provided.
The next hurdle and most important, in my opinion, Netflix and other streaming providers have to overcome is the cost most Kenyans incur in buying data bundles as fibre internet is mainly restricted to major urban centres in the country.
The first streaming service that finds a way to bundle their offering with affordable internet stands to win big in the region.