Netflix is inescapable here in the United States, releasing a new John Wick-style action movie every week, serving as the background noise for when we chill, and winning all of our Emmys, but that’s not the case everywhere in the world. Apparently, Kenya in particular has been so reluctant to adopt Netflix en masse that the streaming service is now offering what could be the best deal in the streaming game, but Netflix is already so popular here that we’ll never get it over here. (Unless, say, everyone bands together in silent agreement to pretend that we don’t like Netflix anymore, causing it to cave and begin offering this deal everywhere in 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 are no ads and you don’t need to put in credit card info, but you can still get “about one-fourth of the content available” on the paid plans. There’s a lot of crap on Netflix, so getting even a quarter of that for free with no strings attached seems pretty sweet. Variety adds that you can’t download anything or connect the free account to your TV, but it still does all of the usual Netflix stuff (like algorithm-based recommendations, parental controls, and different profiles). So it’s Netflix for free… but we don’t want that, because we don’t like Netflix here in the United States. (Wink, remember?)
While the likelihood of this coming stateside remains low, Netflix is apparently using it to “try out the approach” and “gather information about how effective it is attracting paying subs.” In other words, if this does really work out, similar plans might become more popular around the world. Unless this is so popular that everyone in the world signs up for Netflix, eliminating the need for any kind of free version. Maybe there is no right way to play this.