LOS ANGELES, Sept.20 (Reuters) – Netflix Inc (NFLX.O) on Monday began offering a free mobile plan with about a quarter of its TV shows and movies in Kenya, a strategy to boost growth in an African market key, the company told Reuters.
The free plan is available on Android mobile phones and will not have ads. It features Netflix movies and TV shows such as the dramas “Money Heist” and “Bridgerton” and the African series “Blood & Water”, as well as some of the programming that the company licenses to others. .
Netflix is hoping that the free plan will lead users to sign up for a paid option with more 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 registrations have slowed at a time when competition for online audiences has grown. intensified. Read more
Executives remain optimistic about the long-term future, noting that there are large markets where streaming TV is just starting to take hold. To attract customers to Africa, Netflix invests in local programs such as “Queen Sono” and “Jiva!” and partnered with production studios in Nigeria.
“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,” said Cathy Conk, director of product innovation at Netflix, 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 free plan started on Monday and will roll out across Kenya in the coming days.
Non-paying Netflix subscribers in Kenya will not be counted in the paid total the company reports each quarter, a spokesperson said.
Netflix has already experimented with free offers. In 2020, it made episodes of series such as “Stranger Things” and movies including “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” available for free worldwide via web browsers.
The free plan in Kenya is broader. It will look like Netflix’s paid profiles to give viewers a feel for the service, the spokesperson said. Shows that are not included in the free plan will be marked with a lock icon. Clicking on one of these titles will encourage the user to subscribe to a paid option.
Anyone 18 or older in Kenya can sign up for the free plan and create up to five profiles. No payment information will be required.
Some features, such as the ability to download a show or movie, will not be available as part of the free plan.
Netflix, which broadcasts to more than 190 countries, has taken other steps to boost usage in Africa, including creating a paid-only mobile plan and partnerships with local telecom operators to facilitate payments.
The company reported 209 million paying customers worldwide as of the end of June. Pickup of new members slowed in the first half of 2021 after a boom at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Africa is currently a relatively small market for streaming TV subscriptions. Digital TV research projects Netflix will lead subscription video-on-demand services to the continent with 6.26 million paying customers in 2026, followed by Walt Disney Co (DIS.N) Disney +.
Reporting by Lisa Richwine; edited by Kenneth Li and Lisa Shumaker
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