Squid Game, the dystopian South Korean TV drama, has taken the world by storm. Here’s what it has meant for Netflix in figures.
Every so often there’s a Netflix show that captures the pop culture zeitgeist to perfection and it seems that your friends can talk about little else. The bizarre antics of Tiger King may have conquered the early weeks of lockdown, but now the TV series on everyone’s lips is Squid Game, and Netflix has the numbers to prove it.
The series depicts a capitalist dystopia in present-day Korea where desperate debtors are compelled to play children’s games for a huge cash prize — on pain of death for failure. But while it is intended be a ruthless satire on the state of modern-day capitalism, it has sure done a good job for the capitalists that commissioned it.
Bloomberg reports that the streaming giant can boast of 142 million households worldwide having watched Squid Game so far, and it has been the most-streamed show in 94 different countries.
That popular success has evidently translated into hard cash value too. The series has recouped $891.1 million (~£646 million) in “impact value”, based on a budget of just $21.4 million (~£15.5 million). The BBC reports that Netflix’s subscriber count has significantly increased over the past three months, to the tune of 4.4 million new members.
However there have been some unforeseen side-effects of this rampant popularity, especially from audiences too young to watch it who have still picked up the gist of the series from social media platforms like TikTok. The Guardian has stated that individual schools and even a local council have written to parents warning of the risk that children take part in the playground games depicted in the series and use physical violence as a punishment for failure. All I can say is that bullies were never quite so creative back in my day…