You may think that the US market is the primary focus of Netflix's future hopes for success – but you may be wrong. A new report breaks down how it is actually the country of Soth Korea that is currently giving Netflix its biggest hits – as exemplified by the massive worldwide success of the series Squid Game in 2021. Apparently Squid Game broke one particularly lucrative barrier for Netflix while stacking up all those viewership records: the series acted as a sort of cultural ambassador, turning Netflix subscribers on to all kinds of new non-English (and particularly South Korean) viewing content!
In Bloomberg's breakdown of the 'Squid Game Effect' on Netflix viewership patterns, it's noted that after Squid Game's debut in fall 2021, Several other non-English series (My Name, The King's Affection, and another monster hit, Hellbound) all cracked Netflix's Top 10 rankings – with Hellbound taking Squid Game's crown for most-watched non-English show on Netflix, worldwide. All in all, South Korea has reportedly put out more popular Netflix programming than any other country besides the US.
Naturally, Netflix is taking this data to heart and is reportedly focusing on the Asia Pacific region as its net big push for subscribers. Netflix currently has 213 million subscribers worldwide, a number is looking to more than double, with a target goal of 500 million subscribers. Asia (and Asian content items) seem to be the next big frontier for the company.
"If you are on this path to hundreds and hundreds of millions of subscribers, a lot of it has to come from Asia given how big it is," said Micahel Morris, Guggenheim analyst.
Netflix's new Asia Pacific programming head (former top South Korea creative executive) Minyoung Kim has added that, "We do believe there is a global audience," for South Korean-made content on Netflix. After the Korean period zombie series Kingdom became a hit in 2019/2020, the doors in the Asian market opened wide to Netflix, leading to even bigger success stories like Squid Game, and actual turns of profit in the region. South Korea now only trails Australia and Japan in the company's Asian market ventures.
"There's a line out the door of producers wanting to do projects with Netflix," claims Chris Lee, a leading talent manager in South Korea.
Besides the financial rewards, Netflix is somehow doing more to expose viewers of different countries to content outside their local worlds than ever before. It may be the gruesome deaths and animalistic competitive savagery of Squid Game that is uniting us – but hey whatever works, right?