Netflix today announced the launch of a free plan in Kenya for Android users only. For many people, this is great news, despite the limitations we already addressed in the announcement article.
The end goal for the company is clearly getting as many people to sign up in the hopes they will upgrade their account later on.
I have signed up for the free account, and I am going to breakdown some things I’ve discovered that you may want to know.
Will the Netflix Free Plan come to other countries?
This remains unclear. The blog post announcing the launch in Kenya didn’t mention any plans for the same. But we can expect a similar roll out to other African nations in the coming months as the platform looks to expands its reach, and user base.
For those in different countries your only option is to find a VPN that has a Kenyan location (I DOUBT THERE’S ANY) create a free account and enjoy free content.
Yes, you MUST create an account!
Netflix won’t allow you to just go to the app and watch something. You need to sign up and have an account. And you need to be over 18 years to have an account.
Yes, Netflix Free Plan allows for Profiles including KIDS section:
Once you’ve signed up, you can – as with other plans – create profiles and even access the KIDS profile if you have kids, or if you want to watch kids’ titles. But this isn’t helpful if you want to watch something at the same time as someone else.
So you will need to create as many free accounts as possible to cater for your family/friends, or just upgrade and give Netflix your money.
Is the UI different for Free Accounts:
If you expected a different look for free accounts, you’re wrong. It all looks the same. Expect for a huge UPGRADE button on the top right – to constantly remind you to give them your money. You get all the app features and columns as usual breaking down what’s trending, your lists, and what’s popular on the platform.
How big is the library?
This remains unclear. Why? Because once you sign up, you get to see everything a paying subscriber would get. The only difference is there are titles you can watch, and there are titles with a padlock on their cover art.
Titles you can access have no padlock and you can click and watch anytime. If you click on those with a padlock, you get reminded to upgrade to a plan to watch them.
However, many of the big shows and movies are immodiealty free to watch right now. It seems the company will be changing what movies and shows are free to watch at different times of the year.
Is the quality bad?
The short answer is NOPE. The videos cap at 480p.
The long answer is: This can’t be a major concern for anyone accessing the free plan. Here’s why:
- Android devices require certification to be able to play HD Netflix. Many of the people signing up for the free plan don’t have devices with this certification.
- The higher the picture quality, the more the data people will be required to use. And that’s a concern for many Kenyans. So 480p is just fine.
- Both the Mobile (KES 300) and Basic (KES 700) plans cap videos at 480p, so getting that quality for free is great!
Still no M-Pesa Payment options:
Netflix still hasn’t understood the market well it seems. They haven’t integrated M-Pesa payments yet. But that’s not all.
- When you click the upgrade button, the company expects you to copy a link, go to your phone’s browser, paste it, sign in, choose a plan, then enter your card details. THEY DEFINITELY WON’T CONVERT ANY KENYANS THIS WAY! Avail payment options in app, or automatically launch the browser when a user clicks the upgrade button. And avail M-Pesa ASAP!
- As we discussed in the announcement article, Netflix also need to consider payment plans that work for this market, similar to what Spotify did.
What does this mean for other Video on Demand Platforms?
They need to style up. Netflix is clearly going the long mile in trying to find as many possible paying users as it can. People must sign up to watch. And if they want other titles, they must pay. They already have the accounts, anyways. And they’ve already experienced and maybe by then loved what they got, and would be much more ready to pay.
What does this mean for Telcos?
They can expect a lot more people to be streaming content using their internet. Meaning internet demands will be rising. They need to find ways to ensure they provide a smooth experience for their users. (Remember Safaricom introduced fair usage to its Home Fibre – you will definitely be hitting those limits pretty quickly should everyone at home be watching Free Netflix)
- Don’t know if Netflix Free work on Android Tablets. Don’t have an Android tablet to test.
- Casting is not allowed. So when you use workarounds with TVs supporting Miracast, you won’t see video content on the screen. However, your audio will be routed to the TV. Why this happens, I can’t say. But it happens. So you can play stuff on your phone, but listen to the audio on the TV.
Anyway, Netflix is now Free… Why haven’t you signed up?