“Squid Game” has become the latest pop culture phenomenon out of Netflix, and leaked data from the streaming company shows just how much that means in dollars and cents — roughly $891 million.
According to Bloomberg, Netflix estimates in internal reports that “Squid Game” has a value closing in on a billion dollars, a figure based on data on viewing habits from the streamer’s subscribers. With a reported budget of just $21.4 million for the entire series, “Squid Game” is one of the cheapest hits Netflix has yielded in recent years. By comparison, it spent $100 million to sign a production deal with Shonda Rhimes, who began her tenure at the streamer last winter with the romance series “Bridgerton.”
Netflix did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s requests for comment, but an attorney for the company told Bloomberg that it would be “inappropriate” to publish the numbers and that “Netflix does not discuss these metrics outside the company and takes significant steps to protect them from disclosure.”
This past week, an unidentified Netflix employee provided Bloomberg with confidential internal data for its story about backlash to transphobic jokes made by comedian Dave Chappelle in his latest stand-up special. Netflix has since fired the employee after they admitted to the leak. Over 1,000 employees are expected to hold a protest on Wednesday against Chappelle and Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos’ continued vocal support of the comedian. Netflix paid a combined $47.7 million for Chappelle’s latest special “The Closer” and his 2019 special “Sticks and Stones.”
Amidst the controversy surrounding Chappelle, “Squid Game” has been a bright spot for Netflix, with the data provided to Bloomberg showing that 132 million viewers saw at least two minutes of the show, shattering the record set by “Bridgerton.” Netflix estimates that 66% of those viewers, or 87 million people, finished the series.
Written and directed by Hwang Dong-hyuk, “Squid Game” follows Gi-Hun, a divorced chauffeur, who, in his financial desperation, takes part in a macabre game show where hundreds of contestants struggling with debt play deadly versions of children’s games with the death of each contest raising the jackpot for anyone who survives. It has become the most-watched Netflix show in 90 countries and has received critical acclaim for its social commentary on the growing economic inequality and rising debt in South Korea.