Do you remember when Netflix first launched in South Africa? We do thanks to a constant reminder pinned to our account page.

It was January 2016 for those wondering and at that time you could watch Netflix for a full month without paying a subscription.

That was still true until earlier in October in the US according to Variety. Out of interest we checked whether South Africans could still enjoy a 30-day trial and we were surprised to learn that we aren’t.

“Free trials are not available, but you can still sign up and take advantage of all Netflix has to offer. There are no contracts, no cancellation fees, and no commitments. You have the freedom to change your plan or cancel online at any time if you decide Netflix isn’t for you,” reads a notice on the Netflix Help Center.

Following a bit of digging we discovered that the free trial has actually been unavailable since December 2019. Thanks to TV with Thinus for spotting that.

We’ve also confirmed with Netflix locally that yes, the free trial ended quietly at the end of last year.

In fact, Netflix has been slowly ending the free trial offer around the world for two years and it has just come to an end in the US.

The reason? Netflix hasn’t said it explicitly but we suspect that as the service has reached critical mass, the need for a free trial has disappeared.

Instead of 30 days of free access, Netflix has made a number of its titles available to stream for free. These titles include When They See Us, Bird Box and Boss Baby: Back in Business, among others. You can browse the free selection here.

We should, at this point, highlight that local streaming service Showmax still offers a free 14-day trial though this is not applicable to Showmax Pro.

We’re also still very curious about TelkomONE which broke cover this week and wonder if that service will offer a free trial at launch.

Brendyn Lotz writes news, reviews, and opinion pieces for Hypertext. His interests include SMEs, innovation on the African continent, cybersecurity, blockchain, games, geek culture and YouTube.