Netflix Oct. 19 revealed that 142 million subscriber households streamed original South Korean horror drama “Squid Game” in its first 28 days of release. The tally shatters the previous viewing record of 82 million households set by Shonda Rhimes’ period series “Bridgerton.”
The success underscores Netflix’s successful strategy creating shows that appeal to multiple demographics in different territories worldwide.
‘”Squid Game” has become our biggest TV show ever,” co-CEOs Reed Hastings and Ted Sarandos, and CFO Spencer Neumann wrote in a shareholder letter.
Indeed, the series ranked as Netflix’s No. 1 program in 94 countries (including the United States). “Squid Game” has also pierced the cultural zeitgeist, spawning a “Saturday Night Live” skit and memes/clips on TikTok with more than 42 billion views. Demand for related consumer products is high, with merchandise items headed to retail, according to Netflix.
Separately, Netflix said it added 4.4 million subscribers worldwide in the third quarter (ended Sept. 30). The streaming pioneer added 2.2 million subs in the previous-year period. Netflix ended the fiscal period with 214 million subs — tops among all SVOD platforms globally.
Netflix said it expects to add 8.5 million global subs in the current fourth quarter.
The streamer said it under-forecasted (by 900,000) paid net adds for the quarter, while the paid memberships were within 0.4% of the company forecast. For the second consecutive quarter, the Asia Pacific region added the most new subs with 2.2 million net adds (half of total paid net adds). In Europe, Middle East and Africa, Netflix added 1.8 million, up from 188,000 in Q2.
North America, which includes the U.S. and Canada, and Latin America added a combined 400,000 — a relatively small amount given the high penetration of broadband in the regions.
“We believe we still have ample runway for growth as we continue to improve our service [in the regions],” Hastings, Sarandos and Neumann wrote. “We’re very excited to finish the year with what we expect to be our strongest Q4 content offering yet, which shows up as bigger content expense and lower operating margins sequentially.”