Netflix has launched a completely free subscription plan on Android smartphones, allowing viewers to enjoy the likes of Bridgerton, Call the Midwife and Narcos without a subscription or ads.
One-quarter of the content will be free. Subscribers don’t need to provide any payment information or watch any ads—but they do need to be in Kenya, as Netflix trials the initiative to convert the unconverted into paying subscribers.
Variety was told by a spokesperson for Netflix that they are looking at new ways to encourage Kenyans to sign up for their platform. It is currently available in more than 190 countries.
“If you’ve never watched Netflix before—and many people in Kenya haven’t—this is a great way to experience our service,” Netflix’s Cathy Conk said 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 [catalogue] on your TV or laptop as well.”
Anyone with an Android phone in Kenya can download the Netflix app. All they have to do is enter an email address, verify their age and create a password. Even though they are free, all users will be eligible for personalized recommendations, parental controls, and their personal profiles.
It won’t be the first time Netflix has released some of its shows and films for free. Last year, Netflix offered a free ‘watch without registration’ page that let users watch the first episodes.
Smartphones are a rapidly growing market in Kenya, with 59.24 million SIM cards in use in January this year and around 21.75 million Internet users. The country has 11 million social media users.
However, there was only an estimated 29,000 Netflix subscribers last year, which may explain why Netflix is so keen to get people logged in and signed up. It’s not clear if they will expand the free plan to other nations.