On 20th September 2021 Netflix announced their plans to launch a free plan exclusive to the Kenyan market that will see consumers get access to a quarter of the whole Netflix catalog. A week later, Netflix has honored its say and the free plan has already arrived in the country.
First of all, you don’t need any credit/debit card to access the content as it was was previously and now all you need is your email and to confirm you are over 18. The log-in interface is very straightforward and takes less than 3 minutes to setup. After you have logged in, you are asked to choose three movies that you are into and that’s it. You will be taken to the homepage where you can view the whole catalog.
Some Drawbacks, but…
The free plan has its own disadvantages but Netflix has kind of tried to put them to the minimum. First of all, the plan is only available for Android users only in Kenya and no word of when iOS or other platforms that don’t support Google Mobile Services will get the update. Remember in Kenya, the cheapest plan on the paid subscription starts at only Ksh 300 per month.
Although the content is filtered to a quarter I find most of the shows available to stream and in case you see the red lock icon on the cover image just know you need to upgrade to a paid plan in order to gain access. All the shows and movies are available only for streaming and downloading is barred from the free plan. Video quality is also cut down to SD quality.
Casting to external displays is prohibited and when you try to cast, it gives you an error note on the external display suggesting you upgrade. Although they have managed to stop the video from appearing on the external display, you can still listen to the audio without any interruption.
I would expect a free plan to have ads in order to compensate for the freedom of access but Netflix has not tried anything like that yet and I hope they don’t.
When upgrading to the paid plans it can be very exhausting since you have to copy and paste a certain link from the app to your browser. Netflix should just integrate the link into the upgrade button for better usability.
The streaming is fluid except for the SD quality which is understandable since it is free. For the movie and TV shows options, you can’t miss something you like there. There is a huge curation of movies and surprisingly most Netflix originals are available on the free plan. You can also check upcoming movies and TV shows on the coming soon tab and place a reminder in advance.
Netflix has not clarified much about the availability of the free plan on Android tablets but we will test it out and see how it reacts. Picture in Picture mode works as expected and you can continue enjoying your various shows even when working on something else on the phone.
In terms of payment when upgrading, you still get the usual debit or credit card options. A good implementation would be to come up with an M-Pesa option which the majority of people use. Brands like Spotify are using M-Pesa and it works.
Netflix Free plan conclusion
Overall the Netflix free plan option is very amazing mostly to people who want to test out Netflix features before upgrading. You can download the Netflix app here.
If you want to upgrade to a better plan, prices are Ksh 300 for the Mobile phone only package, Ksh 700 which allows you to stream movies or TV shows on a single device at a time, Ksh 1,100 which allows you to stream HD content on two devices simultaneously and the premium package which goes for Ksh 1,450 per month and offers simultaneous streaming on 4 devices at a go and Ultra HD video capabilities.