S. Korea’s “Squid Game” Is Netflix’s Greatest Original Debut Show

SEOUL, Oct. 13 (Reuters) – South Korean hit show “Squid Game” has officially become Netflix’s (NFLX.O) biggest original series launch, the streaming service said on Wednesday.

Nine-part thriller, in which cash-strapped contestants play life-threatening childhood games with the goal of winning 45.6 billion won ($ 38 million), has become a worldwide sensation for Netflix since its launch less than a month ago.

The dystopian drama has inspired countless memes, from Halloween costumes to the ubiquitous green tracksuits worn by contestants, and real-world recreations of the various games. It also sparked a debate in South Korea about toxic competitive societies and sparked new interest in the country’s culture and language across the world.

“Squid Game has officially reached 111 million fans, making it our biggest series launch ever!” Netflix posted on Twitter.

The series hit that total in just 27 days, since its release on September 17, easily overtaking the British costume drama “Bridgerton,” which aired by 82 million accounts in its first 28 days.

A sign referencing the “Honeycomb Challenge” featured in Netflix’s new hit series “Squid Game” is on view at the Brown Butter Cafe in Singapore on October 1, 2021. REUTERS / Edgar Su

Netflix gives limited information about its platform’s viewing figures and cuts the data it provides in various ways. The first 28-day figures released for Bridgerton and other shows included any account that watched an episode for at least two minutes.

Netflix co-CEO and chief content officer Ted Sarandos told a tech conference in California last month that the streaming service was surprised by the popularity of “Squid Game.”

“We didn’t see that coming, in terms of global popularity,” he said.

The series was so popular that South Korean internet service provider SK Broadband sued Netflix to pay the costs of increased network traffic and maintenance work due to the increase in viewership.

And a South Korean woman was in talks with the American company over compensation after being inundated with thousands of prank calls and texts when her phone number was inadvertently highlighted as a key part of the business. the plot of the series.

Netflix has said it will spend more than $ 500 million on content produced in South Korea this year.

Reporting by Josh Smith; edited by Jane Wardell

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