Netflix rolled out a new free mobile plan to users in Kenya on Monday, part of a larger effort by the streaming giant to lure in new African subscribers.
According to a blog post published by Netflix on Monday, the new free plan, which is also ad-free, will include about a quarter of the TV shows and movies currently offered on Netflix and will be available exclusively to Android mobile phone users.
The move is consistent with a renewed global push by Netflix to buoy its customer base outside of saturated markets like the United States. By enticing would-be customers with a free plan, Netflix better positions itself to convert new viewers to subscribers hungry for expanded access to its catalogue of movies and shows—a fact that Netflix itself is willing to admit right out in the open.
“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, wrote in the 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.”
Netflix has also been beefing up its marketing investment in Africa recently, looking to tighten its grip on the large markets within the continent that are just beginning to a growing appetite for streaming programming. In addition to recently partnering with production studios in Nigeria, the company has also recently adopted more Africa-centric and African-produced programming, including Queen Sono and Jiva!
This isn’t the first time Netflix has used free programming to bait potential new subscribers: In 2020, the platform offered up free episodes of popular series like “Stranger Things” and hit original movies like “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” via web browser at no cost.
The free streaming push also comes as Netflix is gearing up to expand into the mobile gaming space with new offerings that will be free to access for anyone who is already subscribed to the service.
Just don’t expect a free Netflix plan in the U.S. anytime soon, if ever. Last fall the company did away with its free 30-day trial for new users, and it also stopped offering select original shows and films for free. If you want that sweet, sweet content stateside, you’re gonna have to pay up.