“Squid Game” is more than just a hit on Netflix – it’s also the internet’s favorite series.
The Korean nine-episode thriller, released on September 17, is poised to become Netflix’s largest “non-English language show in the world,” said Netflix Co-CEO Ted Sarandos.
“It’s only been out for nine days and there is a very good chance that it will be our greatest show ever,” said Sarandos Last month.
Flix patrol, a website that tracks streaming stats for the world’s top platforms, reports that Squid Game is # 1 show in dozens of countries including the US, UK and South Korea.
Streaming numbers for Netflix are not independently verified, which makes a show’s popularity difficult to quantify. Netflix managers didn’t respond to requests for comment.
Julia Alexander, senior strategy analyst at Parrot Analytics, said it was clear that Squid Game was a huge hit, adding that one word would describe how big the win was for Netflix.
“‘Unprecedented'” said Alexander. “I assume the executives knew this was going to be a hit in South Korea because of the talent used and the region they were posting it in. I’d invest good money that executives had no idea it was “going to be a worldwide hit.”
The show follows Seong Gi-Hun, played by Lee Jung-jae, as he and hundreds of other desperate and highly indebted contestants compete in a violent and often grotesque competition for about $ 38 million. Only one person can win the prize, and whoever loses the children’s game series pays with his or her life.
On social media, users can’t stop talking about “Squid Game” especially some of its kids games that lend itself to making some memorable memes. The hashtag “#SquidGame” has been viewed more than 22.8 billion times on TikTok.
Why is the show so popular? We’ve rounded up some of the top reasons for viewers who can’t get enough of it.
Warning: there are some slight spoilers.
Word of mouth
“Squid Game” is a completely unique trait, not based on any existing idea or concept, which could have detracted from its popularity as both a new and a foreign trait with no fanbase. As vulture notes that while the series was marketed in South Korea and other Asian countries, there was no serious pressure to promote it in the United States
Instead, its unique concept has electrified social media, which Twitter and TikTok users have been voraciously posting about.
“People hear about it, people talk about it, people love it, and that has a very social aspect that helps develop the show outside of our activities,” Netflix global TV chief Bela Bajaria told Vulture .
Another reason Squid Game has become such a worldwide phenomenon is its accessibility. The show is filmed in Korean, but Netflix has subtitles in 37 languages and dubbing in 34 languages so even those who don’t want to read subtitles can enjoy them.
Even the way the show is subtitled and dubbed has opened up online conversations where the translations are missing out on all the context.
“Not to sound snobbish, but I’m fluent in Korean and I’ve watched an octopus game with English subtitles and if you don’t understand Korean, you haven’t actually seen the same show. The translation was so bad. The dialogue was so well written and zero it was retained “, Twitter user Youngmi Mayer tweeted on a thread that went viral.
The viral nature of “Squid Game” has led the internet to do what it does with every social media trend: make memes out of it.
When the show became the most talked-about entertainment on the internet, the memes quickly followed.
On Twitter and TikTok, the games the characters have to play have been replicated dozens of times, particularly a challenge where players have to cut shapes – a circle, triangle, star, or umbrella – out of a “Dalgona” candy. also known as honeycomb toffee. Participants must cut their shapes out of the candy made from brown sugar, corn syrup, and baking soda without breaking them.
That has resulted in hundreds of people trying out their own honeycomb toffee challenges on social media. TikTok even developed a honeycomb toffee filter so users can see if they would survive the “Squid Game” challenge.
Others made a meme of the giant robot girl from an episode in which participants play a deadly game of “red light, green light”.
Audio of the girl singing “mugunghwa kochi pieotsumnid” which roughly translates to “Red light, green light 1, 2, 3!” has been used for more than 420,000 videos on the platform, many of which show how people win or lose at the game.
In some videos, people dance when they should be running. Others present real-life versions of the game, showing how teenagers avoid their mothers while on the phone when they are supposed to sleep in bed.
Non-English language shows are on the rise
Netflix had non-English-language hits prior to “Squid Game”. Since 2019, streaming of non-English content by the U.S. audience has increased 71 percent, Bajaria said.
Shows like “Lupine,” which was originally in French, and “Money Heist,” which was originally in Spanish, were top streamers for Netflix. Both offer English dubs.
And Netflix originals like “Bridgerton” and “The Witcher,” which are English-language productions, hit 65 to 70 million household streams in the first 28 days, Alexander said. Netflix counts a stream as a household that has seen at least 2 minutes of a show, Alexander said.
But those shows pale in comparison to “Squid Game,” which is well on its way to becoming the greatest Netflix show of all time, Alexander said, even though it’s brutal, violent, and gloomy.
“You have young tweens and teens watching you [the video games] Roblox and Minecraft, and there are Millennials who see it at home and Gen Xers who hear about it and want to see it, “said Alexander.” When they say [hypothetically] 80 million households look at it in the first 28 days, that’s pretty much accurate. “
Since Squid Game was released less than 28 days ago, the company has not yet released the streaming numbers.
A harbinger of future programming
Korean entertainment has flourished in the US and around the world for years.
K-pop or Korean pop music groups like BTS and Blackpink have a huge following in the US, and their popularity continues to grow. Films like the South Korean film “Parasite” have dominated Hollywood; Last year it won the Oscar for best picture.
And now Korean television has its moment.
“Korean talent, whether it’s K-pop, Korean actors, Korean filmmakers or Korean athletes, this talent group is so in demand that every company in the United States is trying to bring that talent over,” said Alexander.
Not only is the demand for Korean talent high, but the cost is often lower, which means Netflix could soon start allocating resources to creating more content like “Squid Game,” he said.
“I would actually be surprised if we saw less K-drama and fewer Korean films on Netflix because they see what they have and say, ‘Yeah, we want to invest in it,'” said Alexander.