That tally through the first 28 days shatters the previous mark set by Bridgerton, which was seen by 82 million households after its debut last Christmas. Netflix counts any sampling of at least two minutes of any episode as an official view.
The dystopian South Korean action drama exemplifies Netflix’s increasing emphasis on cross-pollinating programming across regions of the world. Squid Game quickly reached No. 1 in 90 countries after its debut in September, aided by Netflix’s investment in subtitling and dubbing it into more than 30 languages, far more than rivals do. In crossing borders, the series followed a path established over the years by the likes of Money Heist, Dark and Lupin, only at a much higher level of penetration.
The company’s “internationalization” efforts drew admiring tweets from none other than Amazon founder and executive chairman Jeffrey Bezos this month. “Reed Hastings and Ted Sarandos and the team at Netflix get it right so often,” Bezos raved. “Their internationalization strategy isn’t easy, and they’re making it work. Impressive and inspiring. (And I can’t wait to watch the show.)”
The results from Squid Game help validate a series of strategic moves the company has made in order to re-orient itself toward global programming. Bela Bajaria has risen steady to a top post in part because of her international ties and broad sensibilities.
During an appearance at the Code Conference last month, Co-CEO Ted Sarandos indicated Squid Game was about to take the crown as the company’s top launch. In revealing a range of numbers, he also asserted the company was committed to a higher level of transparency with talent and other stakeholders. While it has long been scrutinized for reporting only selective bits of data, the fact is that Netflix shares more viewership information than any of its five or six major competitors. Given the nature of the subscription business, and its increasingly global scope, no third-party metric has yet emerged to offer a more impartial sense of viewing. Disappointing titles in particular come and go without any disclosure of performance.
Netflix streamed its first original show in 2012 and began a major push to expand globally four years later. It now operates in more than 200 countries and has 209 million subscribers. The Squid Game number reveal was optimally timed as far as touting the company’s value to investors, coming a week before the company reports its third-quarter financial results.
Squid Game has officially reached 111 million fans — making it our biggest series launch ever! pic.twitter.com/SW3FJ42Qsn
— Netflix (@netflix) October 12, 2021
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