Netflix debuts free tier for Android users in Kenya

The company is gathering information on how effective it is in generating paying customers.

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Netflix has started offering potential paying subscribers in Kenya access to some of its content at no cost. The streaming service has launched a free tier in the country that offers around one-fourth the content available to paying subscribers. It has no ads and won't even ask for payment information upon sign-up — a new subscriber will only need to confirm they're over 18 and to type in their email address and password.

That said, it does have limitations in addition to having a smaller selection: It's only accessible on an Android device and users won't be able to download episodes for offline viewing or to cast shows on movies to a TV. In the announcement post, Netflix's Director of Product Innovation Cathy Conk, said: "If you’ve never watched Netflix before — and many people in Kenya haven’t — this is a great way to experience our service." The company is hoping that the free tier would entice people to pay for the service.

This isn't the first time Netflix made some of its content free to access. Last year, it launched a "watch free" page where people can stream original movies such as Bird Box and the first episodes of popular shows like Stranger Things without even having to log in. The free plan is new, though, and a spokesperson told Variety that it's launching first in Kenya as a way for the company to gather information on how effective it is in generating paying customers. Netflix has been investing more heavily in new markets to offset its slowing growth in the US and other saturated markets and amidst an increasing number of rival streaming services. Based on what the rep said, we may see the free tier make its way to more regions in the future.