Netflix subscribers worldwide watched Squid Game for 1.6 billion hours in total over the first four weeks, the company said Tuesday – the latest statistic in a series of head-turning figures about the dark South Korean show..
To put it in context, 1.6 billion hours equals more than 182,000 years. Netflix’s second most popular title, the soap opera Bridgerton, has less than half, with 625 million hours watched.
Netflix has not been pale for howrose unexpectedly in popularity. In late September, Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos cautiously noted that Squid Game had “a very good chance” of becoming the service’s largest program to date. So in October, Netflix said 142 million accounts tried at least two minutes of Squid play in the first month – that’s two out of every third Netflix subscriber worldwide. No other Netflix title had previously crossed the 100 million mark.
But the new 1.6 billion-hour figure for Squid Game was released as part of Netflix’s unveiling of a new website with a wealth of rankings and data for its most-watched shows and movies. Netflix is changing the metric it uses to measure the popularity of shows and movies on its service, and now counts the total number of hours watched instead of the number of accounts trying a title. As part of the shift, Netflix launched a new public website that will publish dozens of popularity rankings, and it has got one of the world’s four major accounting firms, EY (formerly Ernst & Young), to help with the rankings.
Included among the charts is one that shows the most watched series and movies on Netflix ever, broken down by English-language titles and those in languages other than English.
For years, Netflix was notorious for keeping all viewer information close to the West. Beau Willimon – the creator of, who put Netflix’s original programming on the map – once said the company would not even share viewership with him.
But within the last two years, Netflix has become much more talkative about the popularity of its shows and movies to help it recruit talent and get buzz. Netflix added a top-trending ranking to its service so people can watch the most popular titles streaming on Netflix in their country on any given day. And it started publishing global viewer statistics for specific titles on a regular basis. These revealed revelations have resulted in a growing list of the most “popular” shows and movies.
But until Wednesday, Netflix’s previous popularity numbers were based on a metric that only Netflix used: how many accounts saw at least two minutes of a title. The two-minute threshold means that some titles are counted as being “seen” before the viewer even reaches the main title sequence, and its audience statistics have long annoyed parts of the TV industry for being unconfirmed, unsupported and revealed without much responsibility.
The new placement page, and bringing EY as an independent third party to vouch for the numbers, is the most transparent Netflix has yet adopted around its viewership.