Netflix Greenlights Second Season of ‘Squid Game: The Challenge’ Reality Competition Series

Netflix Dec. 6 disclosed it is casting for a second season of the “Squid Game: The Challenge” reality competition series currently wrapping up its inaugural season with three contestants (out of 456) remaining to win the coveted $4.56 million solo prize awarded tonight at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.

Contestants in The Challenge, similar to characters in the namesake South Korean “Squid Game” drama, must navigate a series of physical and mental challenges — albeit without the life and death consequences found in the original show.

“There was no red light in our decision to greenlight season two…the most ambitious unscripted show we’ve premiered at Netflix,” Brandon Riegg, VP of nonfiction series at Netflix, said in a statement. “We’re so excited to continue the franchise…with our team in Korea, and [London] producers at Studio Lambert and The Garden.”

The show, similar to its Korean namesake drama, “Squid Game,” Netflix’s most-ever viewed program, has been a ratings winner. The show topped 20 million viewers two weeks ago, and added more than 11 million viewers for the week ended Dec. 3. The original “Squid Game,” which is also returning for a second season, finished No. 7 among Netflix’s Top 10 most-viewed non-English language content last week.

The original scripted drama holds the record as Netflix’s most popular series of all time, with over 1.65 billion view hours in the first 28 days after its September 2021 premiere. It was renewed for season 2 as Netflix and Director Hwang confirmed they will once again team up for a whole new round of the scripted show.

Netflix is further expanding the world of the show with “Squid Game: The Trials,” a live fan experience, which started Dec. 6 in Los Angeles. Guests are transported into the Squid Game universe by participating in six, immersive and competitive engagements, as seen in and inspired by the original series. There will also be a Night Market with themed food and beverages. 

Netflix is also producing a video game in the Squid Game universe where players will be able to compete with friends in games they’ll recognize from the series.

The Challenge marks Netflix’s first cash-based competition since 2009, when it awarded $1 million to a team of mathematicians, which bested Netflix’s own algorithm for predicting viewer recommendation by 10.06%.

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Netflix Asia-Pacific Content Spend Expected to Reach $1.9 Billion This Year

Netflix is expected to spend upwards of $1.9 billion on original content from the Asia-Pacific region, which includes the new second season of global Korean hit “Squid Game.” The worldwide SVOD leader is projected to up content spending in the region 15% from $1.65 billion in 2022, according to new data from Media Partners Asia. Revenue in the region is expected to increase 12% to $4 billion, from $3.57 billion a year earlier.

The report contends that Netflix’s APAC revenue growth will be driven in part by advertising revenue in Australia, and increased user revenue in Japan and Korea. Netflix ended 2022 with more than 38 million Asia-Pacific subscribers, up from 32 million at the end of 2021.

Vivek Couto

“The ad tier has seen a slow start in the three APAC markets,” Vivek Couto, co-founder of MPA, said in the report. “Australia is expected to see greater momentum through 2023, helping boost subscribers and revenue in a market where churn has been increasing.”

Indeed, the report contends that Indonesia, Korea, Thailand, India and the Philippines account for the highest penetration of subscriber account sharing — a practice Netflix is aggressively pushing back on.

In late February, Netflix announced a series of subscription price cuts in those five countries, excluding Taiwan, in addition to Bulgaria, Croatia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Iran, Jordan, Kenya, Libya, Slovakia and Yemen.

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Study: ‘Squid Game 2’ Most-Coveted New Series in 2023

Netflix caught lightning in a bottle on Sept. 17, 2021, with the release of original Korean series “Squid Game” — about a dystopian game show in which desperate fiscally strapped contestants engage in life-and-death challenges for a chance to win the $38 million top prize.

The series became a global sensation, generating more than 1.65 billion hours streamed in the first 28 days to become Netflix’s all-time most-popular content. The show became the first non-English series to be nominated (14) and win (6) Primetime Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series, Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series, and Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series.

“Squid Game” also cast a long shadow on Korean content, with multiple shows generating outsized popularity, including Netflix’s “All of Us are Dead,” “Sweet Home” and “Hellbound,” among others.

With a new original second season of “Squid Game” set to be released this year, social media speculation on the show is already in overdrive — despite the fact Netflix has released few details about the debut’s release date.

New Google-driven data from CasinoAlpha finds that the sequel season is dominating social media chatter with more than 1 million monthly searches, followed by “All of Us Are Dead” with 188,000 searches.

“It looks like time does not pass fast enough for ‘Squid Game’ fans who have been impatiently waiting for the second season basically since the first one dropped,” the Irish-based company said in a statement.

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Top 10 Most Anticipated Korean Dramas of 2023

 
Rank Title Network Monthly searches
1 Squid Game 2 Netflix 1,002,400
2 All of Us Are Dead 2 Netflix 188,200
3 Sweet Home 2 Netflix 61,620
4 Hellbound 2 Netflix 33,400
5 Arthdal Chronicles 2 tvN and Netflix 30,800
6 Dr. Romantic 3 SBS 20,320
7 See You in My 19th Life tvN 19,000
8 The Uncanny Counter 2 tvN and Netflix 10,600
9 Taxi Driver 2 SBS 9,730
10 Tale of the Nine Tailed 1938 tvN 9,000

VPN: Netflix’s ‘Squid Game’ Still Most-Searched Korean Content Worldwide

Netflix’s dystopian series, “Squid Game,” is still the most-searched Korean drama worldwide, according to new data from VPN Overview, a cybersecurity firm.

The original series generated seven Prime Time Emmy nominations and two wins for “Outstanding Lead Actor” and “Outstanding Directing” in a drama series

The online survey analyzed a list of the most popular Korean dramas of the past few years, both available on Netflix and other platforms, to discover which one was the most-searched worldwide.

“Squid Game,” released on Netflix on Sept. 17, 2021, remained No. 1 with almost 15 million average monthly searches, seven times the No. 2 on the list. A worldwide success, the first season of “Squid Game” generated a whopping 1.65 billion hours of viewing in the first month of its release, which is the equivalent of 182,000 years.

The survival drama follows the story of a group of 456 people, all in deep financial hardship, who are invited to play a series of deadly children’s games for the chance to win a large sum of money.

Second on the list is ‘All of Us Are Dead’ with almost 3 million average monthly searches. The series revolves around a group of South Korean high schoolers who have to fight a zombie apocalypse that breaks out unexpectedly and is based on a Naver webtoon of the same name. Netflix released the series on Jan. 28 and has been renewed for a second season.

At No. 3 is romantic drama “Business Proposal,” with more than 1.5 million average monthly searches. The series tells the story of an employee who accepts to go on a blind date and finds out that the date is actually her boss. The series is available on Netflix in selected regions.

Further down on the list, “True Beauty,” inspired by a popular webtoon of the same name, is fourth with 1.47 million average monthly searches, while “Our Beloved Summer” is fifth with 924,000 average monthly searches.

“It is interesting to see how even one year after its original release, ‘Squid Game’ is still so popular all over the world,” VPN said in a statement.

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Top 10 most searched Korean Dramas worldwide
Rank Title Release Year Searches
1 Squid Game 2021 14,720,000
2 All of Us Are Dead 2022 2,840,000
3 Business Proposal 2022 1,510,000
4 True Beauty 2020 1,470,000
5 Our Beloved Summer 2021 924,000
6 Crash Landing on You 2019 884,000
7 Hellbound 2021 879,000
8 Itaewon Class 2020 680,000
9 Love Alarm 2019 592,000
10 Hospital Playlist 2020 562,000

Netflix’s ‘Squid Game’ Cast Celebrates Historic Emmy Wins

With six wins out of 14 nominations, Netflix’s original blockbuster series “Squid Game” achieved several milestones at the 74th Emmy Awards Sept. 12 in Los Angeles.

Series creator Hwang Dong-hyuk won for outstanding directing for a drama series, while actor Lee Jung-jae won for outstanding actor in a drama series for his lead performance. Hwang and Lee became the first Asians and the first South Koreans to win in their respective categories, and the first ones to do so with a non-English language series.

Squid Game debuted on Netflix on Sept. 17, 2021, and became a global phenomenon. The series clocked in more than 1.65 billion viewing hours in 28 days, and reached 111 million Netflix accounts, becoming streamer’s first series to surpass 100 million members at launch. The closest runner-up is the fourth season of “Stranger Things,” which has tracked more than 1.35 billion streaming hours in 28 days.

At a Sept. 15 press conference in Seoul, Hwang called the experience of accepting his award on stage a “once in a lifetime moment” and a “great honor” that was “overwhelming and mind-blowing.” Lee, through a pre-recorded video message at the press conference, said that hearing his name announced at the Emmys was “bewildering.” Expressing his delight and gratitude to fans of Squid Game and Korean content from all over the world, he added: “These wins are a happiness we all share together.”

The increasing global reach of Korean culture — be it television, film, music or food — was a theme the creators, cast and crew of “Squid Game” were all asked about at the presser. “We have always been hard at work,” Hwang said regarding Korean content creators. By leveraging the changing media environment and the entry of digital platforms like Netflix into global markets, the director said the hard work has been able to “blossom into something wonderful.” He hoped the show’s success would inspire and motivate not just Korean creators, but creators worldwide. 

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Prior to the Primetime Emmys, “Squid Game” picked up Creative Arts Emmys for special visual effects in a single episode; stunt performance; production design; and Guest Actress in a Drama Series. This last award was won by Lee You-mi, who became the first South Korean actress to win in this category, and the first actor to do so for a non-English language performance. “Squid Game” is also the first Korean series to be nominated for below-the-line production categories, and the first non-English language show to win at the Creative Arts Emmys.

In fact, the show’s nominations alone have made history at the Emmys. Squid Game is the first non-English-language show to be nominated for Outstanding Drama Series. Hwang was also nominated for outstanding writing for a drama series, making him the first Korean showrunner to score nods for both writing and directing.

Actors Lee Jung-jae, Park Hae-soo, Jung Ho-yeon, Oh Young-soo and Lee You-mi were all the first native Korean actors to be nominated in their respective categories. As executive producers, Hwang and Kim Ji-yeon became the smallest producing team to be nominated for a drama series since “Murder She Wrote” in 1987.

“It has been a long journey of many surprises, and an emotional rollercoaster,” said executive producer Kim. “Times have changed, and we are truly living in a global era. In the past, only people who spoke Korean and knew about Korean culture would watch our content. Now, platforms like Netflix allow this content to reach so many more people. Through this exposure, our understanding of other cultures has deepened.”

Stunt performer Lee Tae-young echoed the sentiments of Hwang, Lee and Kim when he spoke about his hope that the accolades won by Squid Game would open more doors for Korean creators, performers and crew members. “We pour our heart and soul into our work. We have a lot of grit and passion,” he said. “This award for the stunt team recognizes the efforts of all stunt performers in South Korea, and I hope it will lead to better opportunities for the next generation.”

In June, Netflix confirmed the second season of “Squid Game” was in the works. At the press conference, Hwang revealed that he was currently working on the script for the new season and has decided on the lethal games that will appear in it. But he revealed no further details and urged everyone to keep spoilers to themselves even if they came across rumors online. “You cannot let anyone know,” he urged. “Suspense is a huge part of the experience.”

Ampere: Netflix’s Original Foreign Content Production Numbers Top All Rivals

At a time where Netflix is feeling the pinch of successive quarterly subscriber losses, the SVOD pioneer’s commitment to international original content productions continues to dominate the market, according to new data from Ampere Analysis.

The London-based research company found Netflix commissioned original productions from 28 markets in the second quarter (ended June 30) to expand its market for original series and movie productions to 44 since 2020. That compared with 27 markets for Warner Bros. Discovery, 23 markets for Disney+ and 21 markets for Amazon Prime Video.

As Netflix and its major U.S. competitors expand internationally, the streamer’s foreign content productions have topped all domestic content productions for the past seven quarters. While Netflix has upped its domestic content production through six months of the fiscal year, the tally (27%) is still down from 46% in 2019.

“It’s in the context of intense competition at home that Netflix’s refocus on international originals makes the most sense,” analyst Fred Black said in a statement.

Black contends that since the start of 2020, Netflix has commissioned 664 American-made TV or movie originals. That’s 50% more than the combined effort of Discovery+/HBO Max, twice as many as Disney+/Hulu, and three times more than Prime Video.

However, internationally Netflix commissioned 814 titles over the same period — 2.3 times more than Amazon, 2.4 times more than Warner Bros Discovery, and three times larger than Disney’s suite of international streaming services.

“Netflix has commissioned more non-U.S. originals over the period than its key rivals combined,” Black said. “Opening up new markets for originals and doubling down on the content from its most successful will be key to Netflix finding subscriber growth again.”

Netflix Teases ‘Squid Game 2’ Return

The Netflix original series “Squid Game” came out of nowhere last year to become the streamer’s all-time biggest ratings hit, tracking more than 1.6 billion hours streamed in its first 28 days of release.

Hwang Dong-hyuk

In a June 12 post, Hwang Dong-hyuk, director, writer, and executive producer of the South Korean-based survival drama, said it took 12 years to bring the first season of “Squid Game” to life last year. And it took 12 days for the show to become the most popular Netflix series ever. 

Dong-hyuk said the second season of the series is coming, without elaborating details on any launch date or program/cast details.

He did say that characters Seong Gi-hun (Lee Jung-jae), also known as Player 456, and Hwang In-ho, a.k.a. “The Front Man” (Lee Bung-hun) would return, and that the man in the suit with ddakji might be back. 

“You’ll also be introduced to Young-hee’s boyfriend, Cheol-su,” Dong-hyuk wrote. 

“Squid Game” revolves around a contest in which 456 players, all of whom are in deep financial problem, risk their lives to play a series of deadly children’s games for the chance to win a $38 million prize. The title of the series draws from a similarly named Korean children’s game. Hwang reportedly came up with the idea based on his own financial struggles early in life, as well as his thoughts on South Korean class disparity and capitalism.

Netflix’s ‘Squid Game’ First-Ever Foreign-Language SAG Awards TV Show Nominee

The Netflix original series “Squid Game” Jan. 12 made history as the first-ever foreign-language TV show nominated for a Screen Actors Guild award. The 2022 Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards ceremony takes place Feb. 27.

The South Korean dystopian gameshow thriller “Squid Game” generated four nominations, including Best Drama Series Ensemble, Best Drama Series Actor (Lee Jung-jae), Best Drama Series Actress (Jung Ho-yeon) and Best TV Series Stunt Ensemble.

Since its debut last September, “Squid Game” has become Netflix’s most-watched original program with more than 1.6 billion hours streamed in the first 28 days globally. The tally is nearly bigger than Netflix’s next four most-streamed episodic programs combined: Three seasons of Spain’s “Money Heist,” and the first season of French thriller “Lupin.”

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“Squid Game” earned three Golden Globe Awards, including Best TV drama, and Best TV Supporting Actor (O Yeong-su). The series also has three Critics Choice Awards nominations and a win at The Gotham Awards last year for Best Breakthrough Series.

Nielsen: Netflix’s ‘Squid Game’ Sustained Streaming Domination Through Oct. 17

After a record-setting performance in early October, Netflix’s global hit “Squid Game” hardly slowed down, besting all competition on Nielsen’s weekly list of the top streamed movies and shows across household televisions through Oct. 17.

The venerable TV ratings firm tracks Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Disney+ and Apple TV+.

South Korea’s “Squid Game,” a show about a dystopian game show in which contestants wage battles with fatalistic consequences, tracked more than 2.25 billion minutes streamed across nine episodes. That was enough to hold off Netflix series “You” with more than 1.9 billion minutes across 30 episodes, and “The Maid,” with almost 1.5 billion minutes across 10 episodes.

Brian Fuhrer, SVP of product strategy at Nielsen, said “Squid Game” gained global popularity at the start with 60% of viewers being multicultural. That percentage dropped to 40% as the program’s popularity and buzz grew.

“The initial buzz was really driven by Hispanic and African-American homes, and now the rest of the audience is catching up,” Fuhrer said on a video blog post.

Separately, longtime Showtime series “Shameless” made its debut on Netflix, quickly dominating the top licensed programs with 964 million minutes across 134 episodes. The non-PVOD access to Marvel Studios’ Black Widow on Disney+ attracted 441 million minutes streamed.

Original Shows:

Rank
 

SVOD Provider

 

Program Name

 

Number of Episodes

 

Minutes Streamed
(Millions)

1 Netflix Squid Game 9 2,254
2 Netflix You 30 1,938
3 Netflix Maid (2021) 10 1,474
4 Netflix The Great British Baking Show 69 519
5 Netflix Midnight Mass 7 445
6 Netflix Dave Chappelle: The Closer 1 357
7 Apple TV+ Ted Lasso 22 352
8 Hulu Only Murders In The Building 9 317
9 Netflix On My Block 38 311
10 Netflix Lucifer 93 307
Licensed shows:
 
Rank
 

SVOD Provider

 

Program Name

 

Number of Episodes

 

Minutes Streamed
(Millions)

1 Netflix Shameless 134 964
2 Netflix Cocomelon 15 662
3 Netflix The Blacklist 169 656
4 Netflix Seinfeld 166 581
5 Netflix NCIS 353 572
6 Netflix Criminal Minds 317 490
7 Netflix Greys Anatomy 379 416
8 Netflix Good Witch 80 357
9 Netflix Heartland 215 352
10 Netflix Supernatural 328 318

Movies:

Rank
 

SVOD Provider

 

Program Name

 

Number

 

Minutes Streamed
(Millions)

1 Disney+ Black Widow 1 441
2 Disney+ Hocus Pocus 1 240
3 Netflix Going In Style 1 239
4 Netflix The Forgotten Battle 1 195
5 Netflix Titanic (1997) 1 158
6 Disney+ Moana 1 155
7 Netflix The Guilty (2021) 1 155
8 Disney+ Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas 1 151
9 Netflix My Little Pony: A New Generation 1 136
10 Disney+ Cruella 1 131

 

 

JustWatch: ‘Halloween,’ ‘Squid Game’ Top October Streamed Movie, TV Show

Universal Pictures’ 2018 Halloween reboot and Netflix’s South Korean hit “Squid Game” were the most-streamed movie and TV show in October, according to new data from JustWatch.

The company’s international streaming guide tracks more than 20 million users per month across 54 countries.

The movie data is noteworthy considering Halloween is a catalog title, yet still bested new releases Dune (Warner Bros.) and 20th Century Studios’ Free Guy. Both movies generated significant box office during their theatrical runs, including topping their respective North American weekend debuts.

As expected, “Squid Game” has been on a ratings rocket ride since launching on Netflix in mid-September. After a slow start, the series about cash-strapped game show contestants subjected to fatalistic consequences, skyrocketed in buzz and popularity.

Netflix said more than 142 million subscriber homes watched the show in its first 28 days of release. The series even made news during the NBA pre-season when Los Angeles Lakers’ stars LeBron James and Anthony Davis got into a conversation about the series’ ending — at a press event.