Netflix Inc said South Korean show Squid Game has become its biggest series launch ever, beating high-profile American productions, as the dystopian drama becomes an unexpected global sensation.
Squid Game has attracted 111 million views since its release on September 17, Netflix said in a tweet on Wednesday. That surpasses its previous top show, Bridgerton, which hit 82 million households in its first 28 days of release.
Squid Game — about a group of debt-laden Koreans who enter a survival game akin to the Hunger Games in hopes of a massive cash prize — is proving as popular with investors as it is with viewers. It helped Netflix’s stock reach a record earlier this month, with shares surging 6 per cent since the show’s release. The series’ popularity has also fuelled a rally of related Korean entertainment stocks.
The show’s success is a milestone for Netflix, which has been stepping up investment in fast-growing Asian markets — particularly South Korea — by producing original content, acquiring studios and establishing talent training bases as growth in the US market slows. Still, it’s set to face increasing challenges as rivals including Walt Disney Co and Chinese technology giant Tencent Holdings Ltd double down on investing in their streaming platforms in Asia.
Squid Game has proved that Netflix’s biggest advantage is foreign language TV. Netflix has invested about 770 billion won ($645 million) in South Korea since entering the country in 2016, creating about 80 original series and films. In February, it revealed a plan to spend $500 million on original content in South Korea this year.