Netflix announced Monday that it is launching a free mobile plan in Kenya as the global streaming giant seeks to exploit the East African nation which is home to more than 20 million internet users.
The free plan, which will roll out to all users in Kenya in the coming weeks, will not require them to provide payment information when signing up, the company said. The new plan is available to anyone 18 or older with an Android phone, the company said. It will also not include advertisements.
Netflix, available in more than 190 countries, has experimented with a series of plans in recent years to attract customers to developing markets. For example, it started testing a $ 3 mobile-only plan in India in 2018 – before expanding it to users in several other countries.
It’s also not the first time that Netflix has offered its service for free – or at little or no price. The company has already supported free trials in many markets, offered a tiny fraction of its original movies and shows to non-subscribers, and had at least one campaign in India when the service was available for free over a weekend.
But his latest offer to Kenya is still remarkable. The company told Reuters that it makes about a quarter of its catalog of movies and TV shows available to users of the free plan in this East African country.
“If you’ve never watched Netflix before – and a lot of people in Kenya haven’t – this is a great way to experience our service,” Cathy Conk, Director of Product Innovation at Netflix, written in a blog post.
“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.”
The company has not disclosed how long it plans to offer this free offering in Kenya and whether it plans to expand the offering to other markets.
In its previous earnings calls, Netflix executives insisted they study each market and explore ways to make their service more appealing to everyone. The ability to register without payment information gives credibility to such complaints. Many people in developed countries do not have a credit or debit card, making services requiring such payment instruments at registration inaccessible.
The new push to gain customers comes as the company, which also plans to add mobile games to its offering, added just 1.5 million net paying subscribers in the quarter that ended in June of this year, which is lower than she expected. Netflix, which has racked up more than 209 million subscribers, as well as Amazon Prime Video and other streaming services are increasingly trying to gain customers outside of the United States to maintain faster growth rates.
Earlier this year, Amazon introduced a free and ad-supported video streaming service in its shopping app in India to reach more customers.