A dystopian Korean series in which people take part in deadly games to find their way out of financial difficulties: that may not sound like a show on paper that will become a global hit.

But that's exactly what Netflix did with "Squid Game".

The series came out on September 17th and in no time became a phenomenon around the world.

And Netflix now highlighted it in its quarterly report as the most successful show in its history.

142 million subscribers would have viewed it within the first four weeks.

That corresponds to more than half of all Netflix customers, whose number was 214 million at the end of the last quarter.

Roland Lindner

Business correspondent in New York.

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The quarterly report was generally better than expected, and after a comparatively weak first half of the year, business has picked up significantly again.

Instead of the predicted 3.5 million, Netflix gained 4.4 million new customers.

For the traditionally strong final quarter, the company is even planning an increase of 8.5 million subscribers.

The share price was initially slightly positive in after-hours trading.

The corona hangover is cured

Netflix attributes the better development to a greater range of new content on its platform, such as shows like "Squid Game". In the first two quarters of this year, production stoppages caused by the pandemic resulted in a lower supply of films and TV shows, and subscriber numbers disappointed. Netflix also explained the temporary slowdown with a kind of corona hangover. In the early days of the pandemic, the video service experienced a dramatic growth spurt, and according to its portrayal, that anticipated demand that was then lacking this year.

A few days ago some figures came out about “Squid Game”.

As reported by the Bloomberg news agency, Netflix estimates that the nine-part series will be worth nearly $ 900 million for the company.

This is an internal metric that Netflix uses to measure the success of its content.

Since Netflix does not sell its titles individually, but offers them as a subscription package, the financial contribution of a show cannot be directly quantified, but the company uses its wealth of customer data to assign value to content.

The amount for "Squid Game" is many times higher than the cost of the series, which is estimated at $ 21.4 million.

How many minutes do users actually watch?

The show apparently also holds its viewers under its spell. The number of 142 million subscribers reported by Netflix itself refers to people who have seen at least two minutes of "Squid Game". According to the Bloomberg report, 89 percent of all users tuned in for at least 75 minutes, and 66 percent watched the series in the first 23 days to the end. Netflix has now announced that it will change its own reporting on individual series. From now on, it should no longer be made public how many subscribers tune in for at least two minutes, but how many hours a show is viewed in total. The company also wants to publish such data more frequently in general.

In the final three months, Netflix believes it has its strongest offering of films and TV shows to date.

The program includes films with Hollywood stars such as Leonardo DiCaprio and Sandra Bullock as well as new seasons of series such as "Tiger King" and "You".

For 2022, Netflix is ​​predicting a normalization in its schedule, which means that new content should be more distributed throughout the year and not just concentrated in the second half of the year.

Netflix has also launched its video game tests that it announced a few months ago.

The company wants to offer its own video games on its platform as part of the regular subscription at no extra charge.

The competition is getting tougher

With the recovery in the third quarter, the company gives hope that it will be able to hold its own in the face of tougher competition. Netflix is ​​facing more and more competition in the streaming market, and the entertainment company Walt Disney in particular has grown rapidly with its Disney + service, even when Netflix struggled with a slowdown this year. Disney + started almost exactly two years ago and most recently had 116 million subscribers.

Netflix is ​​demonstratively unconcerned with regard to the streaming competition.

In its quarterly report, the company said that to date it only accounts for six percent of the time people in the US spend in front of the television screen, so the potential is correspondingly large.

In addition, Netflix not only competes with other video services, but also with various other online activities.

For example, when the services of the social network Facebook went down for hours on October 4th, the consumption of Netflix content rose by 14 percent.

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