Could ‘Squid Game’ Have Become Such a Big Hit Because of Data Manipulation?
Netflix's South Korean television series Squid Game became an overnight sensation when it was released worldwide on September 17, 2021. The survival drama received global success in record time, gaining critical acclaim and international attention.
According to Bloomberg's report, 132 million Netflix households streamed at least two minutes of the show in the 23 days since it debuted on the OTT platform.
Negative Comments and Data Manipulation
While the show gathers positive responses and goes strength by strength, there have been some adverse reactions to the global success of Netflix's new survival drama.
More significantly, the Japanese media have been criticizing the success of Squid Game, sharing various reasons they believe the show is not as popular as the media wants you to think. Doing that, a Japanese economic site, Modern Business, recently published a story that discussed "3 reasons why people are actually not addicted to it."
In the opinion piece, Naoko Yamamoto, the author of the story, claimed that while the "number of viewings are high in Japan," the drama did not get a significant response from the viewers.
She also revealed that all the articles that mentioned Squid Game generated less than 100 comments, which, according to Yamamoto, was "an indication of the level of interest that the people have."
She continued with her claims, asserting that the entire Japanese entertainment industry wasn't interested in the storyline of the Netflix show because "death game genre productions, such as Squid Game have been done before [in Japan]."
She mentioned action thriller films like Kaiji and Battle Royale as the two Japanese productions with a similar premise to Squid Game, but did not receive a positive response worldwide.
Yamamoto then shared her true thoughts on the series' success, alleging the "ranking can be manipulated." She added South Korea could manipulate the charts, "like they do with K-Pop."
Despite such claims, there is no concrete evidence to suggest that data manipulation played a role in making Squid Game such a big hit.
Fans' Reaction to Data Manipulation Remarks
Immediately after Modern Business' story questioning Squid Game's success was published, many Korean netizens criticized Yamamoto's claims, stating that she wrote it out of "jealousy."
Someone commented, saying,
They’re the ones who always say South Korea has no money and are worthless, but whenever something big happens, they’re the first ones to say South Korea uses their money to manipulate charts.
"They're going crazy out of jealousy ha," another fan wrote.
Similarly, someone added, "They can't actually believe that their dramas, movies, and lack of popularity are due to chart manipulation, do they?"
Netflix's Most-Watched Original Series 'Squid Game'
Squid Game, which Netflix reportedly bought for $21.4 million, earned an estimated $891 million within the first four weeks of its release. With that, the Korean drama show became Netflix's most-watched original series.
The series, set in modern-day South Korea, follows the lives of 456 people deeply in debt who play a series of deadly children's games to win a â‚©45.6 billion prize.
South Korean actors Lee Jung-jae, Park Hae-soo, Wi Ha-joon, and Jung Ho-yeon are the show's lead cast.