A look at Netflix’s show data, which is normally held under lock and key and not available to the public, has provided a new information on what the success of South Korean drama Squid Game means to the company. In short, buckets and buckets of money and lots of people sticking around until the end.
Citing confidential data in internal Netflix documents, Bloomberg published a report on Sunday stating that Squid Game will generate roughly $900 million in value for the company. This number doesn’t refer to sales—the company doesn’t sell specific shows—but rather reflects the unique way Netflix determines a show’s contribution to its bottom line based on how many subscribers have watched it.
The number alone would be impressive, but what makes it truly outlandish is the fact that the show only cost $21.4 million to make. Some entertainment executives maintain that producing Squid Game in the U.S., where top talent demands top dollar and studios work according to union production regulations, would probably have cost five to 10 times more.
Bloomberg’s report also provided a detailed look at data the press, investors, Hollywood, and even show creators have been itching to get their hands on for years.
For instance, while Netflix releases data on how many people watched at least two minutes of a show on some occasions, it doesn’t reveal how many people watch more than that or how many people finish a show. Until now, at least.
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According to Bloomberg, Netflix reportedly estimates that 89% of viewers who started watching Squid Game have gone on to watch at least 75 minutes. That translates to more than one episode. For reference, 132 million that have watched at least two minutes in the show’s first 23 days.
When it comes to how many people actually finished watching the show in the 23 days since its premiere, the outlet reports that this amounts to 66% of viewers, or 87 million people.
Overall, viewers have seemingly spent more than 1.4 billion hours watching Squid Game, Bloomberg stated.
The data is illuminating and will likely fuel Netflix’s appetite for even more international content and motivate other studios to look outside U.S. borders for good shows. As a fellow K-drama and international show fan, this makes me happy. There are so many amazing shows being made across the world, and I appreciate the opportunity to find more of them on mainstream streaming platforms.
Netflix isn’t very happy Bloomberg published its confidential internal data, though. The company told Bloomberg through its attorney that it would be inappropriate for the outlet to publish the data in the documents.
“Netflix does not discuss these metrics outside the company and takes significant steps to protect them from disclosure,” the attorney told the outlet.