In September 2021, global streaming platform, Netflix launched a free mobile plan offering for Android users in Kenya. “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, the company’s director of product innovation, wrote to announce the launch.
Two years after the free plan was launched, Netflix disclosed on Monday that it is ending the trial plan, effective November 1. “We definitely learnt a lot from the test,” a Netflix spokesperson told Reuters. “We are going to continue to offer a variety of other plans.”
Kenyan users who want to continue using Netflix will have to upgrade to the paid plans. “If you want to keep watching, upgrade to one of our paid plans. Starting from as low as Ksh200 ($1.35) per month, you can unlock all shows and movies, more features and the option to watch on your phone, TV or laptop,” Netflix said in an email to subscribers.
Earlier this year, Netflix slashed its subscription prices in Kenya and other African countries by an average of 37%, as part of its strategy to attract more subscribers in the region, where it faces stiff competition from other streaming services.
Netflix in Sub-Saharan Africa: Kenya in focus
Since 2016, Netflix says it has invested about $175 million in film content production in sub-Saharan Africa, creating over 10,000 jobs within this period. Aside from production, the global video streaming platform launched the $1 million Netflix Creative Equity Scholarship Fund for film and TV students in the region.
Within the last six years, its investment has contributed $218 million to the GDP of South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya; as well as $44 million in tax revenue. In April when the company released the data about its performance in the region, it did not disclose its investment and socio-economic impact in Kenya. However, the company said it has been a major pillar in supporting and developing the country's creative industry.
This is possibly because its numbers in Kenya are low compared to other countries like Nigeria and South Africa. The removal of the free plan will possibly reduce the number of Netflix users in the country.