South Korean drama series "Squid Game" has become online streaming platform Netflix's most popular series launch ever, with 111 million fans since it debuted less than four weeks ago.
Director Hwang Dong-hyuk’s dystopian take on children's games has a simple premise: In order to become multimillionaires, 456 people fight for survival in a game show where they must survive six deadly rounds. While the victor can earn cash, those who lose are killed.
Starting small, the popularity of the show spread by word of mouth with millions of memes posted across social media. The viral hit topped charts in over 80 countries.
"Squid Game has officially reached 111 million fans — making it our biggest series launch ever!" Netflix tweeted on Tuesday.
It topped Netflix’s regency drama "Bridgerton," which reached 82 million households on debut. Netflix's metrics include all accounts that watch an episode for at least two minutes.
South Korea's remarkable rise in global popular culture
The South Korean drama’s success is in line with the country's increased influence on global popular culture through cinematic marvels like Oscar-winner "Parasite" and the K-pop group BTS.
It has also resulted in more people learning Korean, with the online language learning app Duolingo Inc saying that "Squid Game" has spurred an interest in both beginners and existing students looking to improve their linguistic skills.
The app showed a 76% rise in new users signing up to learn Korean in the UK and 40% in the US in the two weeks that followed the show's premiere.
see/jsi (AFP, Reuters)