Netflix is a fixture here in the United States, releasing a new John Wick-style action film every week, serving as background noise when we relax, and earn all our Emmys, but this is not the case everywhere in the world. Apparently Kenya in particular has been so reluctant to adopt Netflix a lot that the streaming service now has what might be the best deal in the streaming game, but Netflix is already so popular here that we’ll never get it here. (Unless, say, everyone comes together in a silent agreement to to pretend that we don’t like Netflix anymore, causing it to give in and start carrying this offering all over the world out of desperation.)
According to Variety, the new deal in Kenya is a completely free tier of Netflix available to anyone with an Android phone. There’s no advertising and you don’t have to enter your credit card information, but you can still get “about a quarter of the available content” on paid plans. There’s a lot of bullshit on Netflix, so getting even a quarter of that for free without any strings seems pretty cool. Variety adds that you can’t download anything or connect the free account to your TV, but it still does all the usual Netflix things (like algorithm-based recommendations, parental controls, and different profiles). So it’s Netflix for free … but we not want that, because we don’t like Netflix here in the US. (Wink, remember?)
While the likelihood of it coming to the United States remains low, Netflix apparently uses it to “try the approach” and “gather information on its effectiveness in attracting paying subscribers.” In other words, if it really works, similar plans could become more popular around the world. Unless it’s so popular that everyone in the world signs up for Netflix, eliminating the need for any kind of free version. Maybe there’s no right way to play this.