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Just how, exactly, do streaming services measure success? Traditional films have box office returns. Traditional television has Nielsen ratings. Even YouTube and TikTok videos track views, shares, and likes. But for Hulu, HBOMax and the like, success remains a secret: for internal eyes only.
Take, for example, Squid Game, Netflix's dystopian Korean drama that everyone seems to be talking about this Fall. But how does that translate into revenue for a service that relies on monthly subscriptions rather than individual ticket sales? Thanks to new data from Bloomberg, we finally have an idea.
Writing Checks With (Squid) Ink
According to figures seen by Bloomberg, an internal metric at Netflix estimates Squid Game, which hit the service on September 17, has generated $891.1 million for the streaming titan so far. That's a lot of calamari.
What's more, the production budget ran a mere $21.4 million– or roughly $2.4 million per each of its nine episodes. In comparison, Fast And Furious 9, the highest-grossing American movie of the year, raked in $716.6 million at the global box office on a budget of just north of $200 million.
By Netflix's internal metric, Squid Game isn't just successful. It's the most-watched show in company history:
- Roughly 132 million people have watched the first two minutes of Squid Game, a key internal metric for the service, topping previous record-holder Bridgerton.
- 89% of people who started Squid Game have watched more than 1 episode. 87 million people, or 66% of viewers, have completed the entire series in its first 23 days.
It's safe to say, even after a year spent largely indoors, viewers remain as comfortable with the binge-watch model as ever.
The Stock Is Going Swimmingly: Since Squid Game's release, shares in Netflix have climbed 7%, following a year of slowed growth due to concerns of subscriber churn. On Tuesday during its third-quarter earnings report, Netflix may squash those concerns, as analysts expect the company to have gained 4 million subscribers in Q3. That's good for a 213.3 million total worldwide. For now, that means Netflix still sits atop the (sea)food chain of streaming services.