Netflix has always been a paid subscription-based service, but they just launched a free plan in Kenya. It only works on Android devices, but all you have to do is sign up with a valid email address and confirm that you are at least 18 years of age. Once you sign up, you can immediately start streaming with no payment information required. What’s the catch? You only get about 25% of the available catalog.
This free plan provides many of the same functions as the paid tier, such as personalised recommendations, multiple profiles, ad-free playback, and parental controls. Unlike services like Hulu, Netflix has always been an ad-free service.
Unfortunately, there are some more downsides. Users under this plan will not be able to cast content to other devices like TVs and offline viewing will not be available. This is similar to the current cheapest Mobile plan in Malaysia, which also does not allow for casting on TVs.
Netflix said that this serves as a test to see how many free plan users will convert to the paid plan. If it performs well in Kenya, we might see Netflix offering a free plan to other regions in the future.
It is not unusual for Netflix to experiment with different plans in different markets. They tested the Mobile-only plan in Malaysia for a year before launch. Recently, they have also tested out a Mobile+ option with offer full HD streaming and you can also stream it on desktop computers.
It may be the first time Netflix has started up a free tier, but Netflix has previously experimented with free content to lure customers in. They have made various documentaries and films free to watch on YouTube before, and even set up a temporary free-to-watch Netflix page with ten titles.
The free plan in Kenya was launched on 20th September and they will roll out the feature in the coming weeks.