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Exclusive-Netflix offers free plan in Kenya to entice new subscribers By Reuters


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO – Screen shot of the Netflix plan in Kenya, taken by Reuters September 20, 2021. Netflix/Handout via REUTERS

By Lisa Richwine

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Netflix Inc (NASDAQ:) on Monday began offering a free mobile plan with about one-quarter of its TV shows and movies in Kenya, a strategy aimed at sparking growth in a key African market, the company told Reuters.

It is free for Android users and doesn’t contain any 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 licenses from others.

Netflix hopes that the users who sign up to this plan for free will choose to pay more and have access too many other content.

The world’s largest streaming video service is looking to add customers outside of more saturated markets such as the United States, where new subscriber signups have slowed at a time when competition for online audiences has intensified.

The executives remain optimistic about the future and note that there are many markets in which streaming TV is only beginning to gain traction. Netflix invests in African-made programming, such as “Queen Sono” and “Jiva”, to appeal to customers in Africa. and has formed partnerships with Nigerian production studios.

“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, 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 catalog on your TV or laptop as well.”

On Monday, the free plan was launched and will be available in Kenya over the next few days.

According to a spokesperson, the free plan will not count for the quarter’s paid total.

Netflix has previously experimented in freebies. Netflix made some of its series, including “Stranger Things”, and films such as “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before”, available worldwide for free via internet browsers in 2020.

There is also a wider free plan available in Kenya. The spokesperson explained that it will be similar to paid Netflix profiles, to allow viewers to get a taste of the service. Lock icons will appear on shows not covered by the free plan. To sign up for the paid option, click on any of these titles.

Any Kenyan 18 years or older can sign up for the free plan. The user may create up to 5 profiles. You will not need to provide any payment information.

The free plan does not allow you to access certain functions such as downloading a movie or show.

Netflix, which streams in more than 190 countries, has taken other steps to boost usage in Africa, including creation of a paid mobile-only plan and partnerships with local telecom operators to ease payments.

At the end June, Netflix reported that it had 209 million customers paying worldwide. After a surge in new member signings during the COVID-19 epidemic, pickups of existing members slowed down in the first half 2021.

Africa is currently a small market for streaming television subscriptions. Digital TV Research projects Netflix will lead subscription video on demand services on the continent with 6.26 million paying customers in 2026, followed by Walt Disney (NYSE:) Co’s Disney+.

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