The streaming giant Netflix has announced that the dystopian South Korean drama, Squid Game, is now its most popular series to date, earning 111 million fans since its debut less than a month ago.
The series – which is proving to be something of an entertainment phenomenon – envisions a world in which society’s marginalised groups are forced to play a series of traditional children’s games. It might sound harmless, but there’s a catch. If you win, you earn millions. if you lose, you are killed.
What’s so fascinating about the success of Squid Game is that with the help of social media, the show spread around the world solely by word of mouth. Subsequently, Squid Game has topped Netflix charts in more than 80 countries, making it a global sensation. In a tweet, Netflix wrote: “Squid Game has officially reached 111 million fans – making it our biggest series launch ever!”
As a comparison, the steamy period drama Bridgerton – which was all the world could talk about for a time – reached 82m households on its debut, using Netflix’s internal data system which counts any account that watched an episode for at least two minutes.
Squid Game is just one of the many startling successes the South Korean film industry has had over the last few years. Indeed, alongside films such as Parasite, the nation is becoming something of a trendsetter, with K-pop bands such as BTS amplifying its influence over popular culture.
Squid Game is also the latest and most successful of Netflix’s attempts to introduce more international and non-English language content to its site. It seems to be going pretty well. Ranking just below Squid Game is the French Language series Lupin.
Netflix has given users the option to watch Squid Game in both dubbed and subtitled versions, a decision that has allowed the streaming service to expand its audience. Meanwhile, In February, Netflix announced plans to spend $500m this year alone on series and films produced in South Korea.