Netflix is one of the largest streaming video services on the market, if not the largest, but even it is finding that the market is stagnating. A critical mass of viewers has already built up in its countries of presence, and new markets are in no hurry to open their arms. In an attempt to attract new users in Africa, Netflix is doing something that was unthinkable just a few years ago: offering a portion of its video content for free. So far, only in Kenya.
Streaming video is big business, and Netflix remains the undisputed leader despite the growing reach of competitors like Disney+. Unlike the music streaming business, Netflix and some of its competitors don't offer a free plan. Occasionally, they offer free trials, but after that period, the subscription will have to be paid for or be turned away from viewing.
This is what makes this situation quite revolutionary for Netflix. Kenyan residents will now be able to enjoy part of the Netflix library without paying for anything. They just need to register with an email and password, say they are at least 18 years old, and start watching.
How it works
Of course, the free plan has limitations. It can only be used on Android mobile phones, and streaming on any other device will require upgrading to a paid subscription. In addition, the app will detect an attempt to stream content from your smartphone to your TV and will also require you to pay a fee.
Netflix sees this as an important experiment. The company may eventually offer the same plan in other markets, or shut it down if it realizes that very few of its free users end up upgrading to a paid plan.