Netflix Inc NFLX has released many hit shows, some original concepts and others it bought from other studios. A show released in late September could be the company’s biggest hit and is becoming a worldwide success story.
What Happened: Netflix released “Squid Game” on Sept. 17, a nine-episode series that follows financially challenged people fighting to win millions of dollars in a “Hunger Games” style survival competition.
Strong viewership for the show has led to the stars of the show becoming hits on social media and items in the movie becoming must-haves for collectors.
Actor Jung Ho-yeon is now the most followed actress in Korea with 15.6 million followers on Instagram, the social network owned by Facebook, Inc FB.
The price of dalgona, an old-fashioned brittle candy, saw a rise in price from around 84 cents to $5.88, according to Variety.
Several telephone numbers are shown in the series and are seeing a surge in prank calls from viewers of the show. Netflix said this week it would edit out the numbers used.
Another item to watch could be the awards season.
Netflix has been no stranger to winning Emmy Awards or Academy Awards. Due to “Squid Game” being produced internationally, the show can be entered in the Primetime Emmy categories, a feat not often seen by streaming companies.
In 2020, “Parasite” became the first non-English movie to win Best Picture at the Academy Awards. The movie was streamed on Hulu and also came from South Korea.
Strong Viewership: Google Trends shows searches for “Squid Game” well ahead of peak numbers for “Tiger King,” “Bridgerton” and the Disney+ hit “The Mandalorian” for the Walt Disney Co DIS.
“Most other international Netflix originals peak in demand on their second or third day after launching before trailing off,” Parrot Analytics analyst Wade Payson-Denney told Vulture. Data shows “Squid Game” global audience demand going up every day since the show premiered.
“Squid Game” hit the top of the global-demand index faster than other internationally produced series for Netflix, Parrot reported.
Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos recently said, “Squid Game” has a chance to be the company’s most popular series of all time, passing "Bridgerton," which was recently unveiled at the number-one position with 82 million viewers.
The show was not shown in advance to many critics and is starting to see positive reviews as more watch the series. RottenTomatoes is showing a 94% rating from 35 critics. On IMDB, owned by Amazon.com, Inc. AMZN, “Squid Games” has an 8.3 rating and is listed as the most popular searched-for movie or show currently.
Netflix expected big things from “Squid Game” according to global TV head Bela Bajaria.
“But we could not imagine that it would be this big globally,” Bajaria told Vulture.
The show got a strong promotional push in South Korea, but its marketing in the U.S. was limited to a trailer. The show was not based on a book or comic and little was known about the story. Bajaria credits “organic fandom” and strong social media mentions on Twitter Inc TWTR and TikTok.
The show was so popular in South Korea that SK Broadband, owned by SK Telecom Co Ltd SKM, countersued Netflix due to a surge in internet traffic.
Related Link: Here Are The 10 Most Watched Netflix Shows
Netflix Stock: Netflix is set to report its third-quarter earnings on Oct. 19. The quarter will cover the three months ending Sept. 30, which included the release of “Squid Game.”
The show is likely to be a hot topic on the earnings report, as investors and analysts may be looking for a late surge in subscriber growth given the strong word of mouth around the show and people possibly not wanting to miss the hit show.
“Squid Game” has hit number-one on the Netflix streaming platform in 90 territories. As Netflix has shown less growth for domestic subscribers, its international growth has become increasingly important on earnings calls.
Another popular topic could be the future of the show. Bajaria told Vulture that Netflix was working on getting “Squid Game” director Hwang Dong-hyuk to create additional chapters.
“He has a film and other things he’s working on. We’re trying to figure out the right structure for him,” Bajaria said.
Another Stock to Watch: Sometimes movies and shows lead to cultural phenomenons that can create demand for products or fashion items. In the case of “Squid Game,” a clothing stock could see a big spike in sales.
Given the release of “Squid Game” around Halloween, the show is expected to be a popular costume choice given the strong following. Customers flocked to buy green and white tracksuits and also white slip-on Vans, the outfit of the characters in the series.
A report from Variety says sales of white slip-on Vans were up 7,800% since “Squid Game” premiered according to data from Sole Supplier. White slip-on shoes saw a 97% increase in searches, according to Lyst.
Vans is owned by VF Corp VFC, which also owns brands like North Face and Dickies. The company reports its second-quarter earnings on Oct. 22 and it will be interesting to see if Vans revenue was up late in the quarter and if the company has any comments on the series.
Photo: Poster via IMDb
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