Jeff Bezos praised Netflix’s co-CEOs Reed Hastings and Ted Sarandos for the rival platform’s “impressive and inspiring” international content — and fans are convinced that the Amazon founder may be hinting at something.
“.@ReedHastings and Ted Sarandos and the team at @Netflix get it right so often. Their internationalization strategy isn’t easy, and they’re making it work. Impressive and inspiring. (And I can’t wait to watch the show.)” Bezos tweeted on Saturday.
Indeed, Netflix is making it “work.” Produced out of South Korea, “Squid Game,” is the most talked-about show at the moment, pacing to be the streaming service’s most popular original series ever, a title currently held by Shonda Rhimes’ “Bridgerton.” During Vox Media’s Code Conference this week, Sarandos said the dystopian drama was already its top show in 90 countries. It first premiered on Sept. 17.
But, with his tweet, some are wondering if it is a sign of something bigger happening between Amazon and Netflix — perhaps a team-up or even a buyout. “Something’s up,” Franklin Leonard tweeted.
Indeed, “Squid Game” is proving to be a runaway hit for the streaming service. In fact, it’s so popular in South Korea that one of the country’s largest internet service providers is suing Netflix over it. On Friday, Reuters reported that a spokesperson for SK Broadband said it wants Netflix to pay the costs from increased network traffic and maintenance.
Earlier this year, a Seoul court ruled that streaming services like Netflix should “reasonably” pay up.
The success of the series comes on top of some big gains in subscribers for Netflix during the COVID-19 pandemic — though on Tuesday, it reported that it added only 1.54 million new subscribers during the second quarter, a far cry from the 10 million new subscribers the company added during the same time frame last year. Also worth noting: the streaming service lost 400,000 subscribers in the U.S. and Canada in Q2.
Meanwhile, Amazon Prime Video and discovery+ have signed up the most new streaming customers during the most recent quarter, according to data from Kantar Media.
Of course, many on social media are joking that if Bezos were actually a participant in the game, they think he’d be one of the villains.
If you haven’t seen the bloodthirsty series just yet, here’s what you need to know: “Squid Game” has a similar idea as “The Hunger Games.” But, instead of having the contestants kill each other, they play children’s games in order to win a huge cash prize. It’s the losers that are progressively killed off.
Within the game, there are characters known as VIPS. They wear sparkly gold masks watch the contestants compete to the death from a viewing room. And after Bezos’ tweet, some fans feel that’s the role he’d fit in the game.
You can check out more responses to Bezos’ potentially cryptic words below.