"Squid Game" has become a massive sensation on Netflix.
The nine-episode Korean thriller was released on Sept. 17 and the response has been so positive that, days later, Netflix's co-CEO Ted Sarandos projected that it could become one of the streaming service's biggest "non-English-language show in the world," according to Deadline. Within 10 days of its premiere, the show reached No. 1 in 90 countries. It entered the U.S. Top 10 list at No. 8 but by the next day had climbed to No. 2. By Sept. 21, "Squid Game" became the first Korean original series to hit No. 1.
The question is, how did the show become so popular? There are a combination of reasons, NBC reported, with word of mouth being a main contributing factor. As the outlet noted, "Squid Game" is a unique concept not based on any existing idea or concept and this has set social media alight.
"People hear about it, people talk about it, people love it, and there's a very social aspect to that, which does help grow the show outside of what we do," Netflix's global TV head, Bela Bajaria, told Vulture.
Additionally, the show's success lies in its accessibility. Although it is filmed in Korean, it is available with subtitles in 37 languages and dubs in 34 languages, making it possible for people across the world to watch and understand the dialogue. Adding to this, non-English language shows are on the rise.
Bajaria pointed out that streaming of such content by U.S audiences is up by 71% since 2019. This can be seen in the popularity of shows like "Lupin" and "Money Heist," both of which were originally in foreign languages. And the fact that Korean entertainment is thriving, not just in the U.S. but around the world, only fuels the show's popularity.
According to NBC News, Julia Alexander, a senior strategy analyst at Parrot Analytics, attributes "Korean talent, whether it's K-pop, Korean actors, Korean filmmakers, Korean athletes," to the sucess of the show. "There's so much demand for this group of talent that every company in the United States is trying to figure out how to bring that talent over."
Looking ahead, Alexander projected that Netflix could soon begin devoting more resources to creating content that is similar to "Squid Game."
"I would actually be surprised if we saw less K-drama and less Korean films coming out of Netflix, because they're going to realize what they have and say, 'Yes, we want to invest in this,'" he said.
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