“They really put a lot of work into repackaging shows from other countries so that they would be extremely accessible to other viewers,” says Chen, who points out that Squid Game is a culmination of that effort. Money Heist, Dark, Spanish school drama Elite and France’s Lupine all left for Squid Game to run, to put it another way.
Now that Squid Game has proven that “Stories don’t need to be told in English to be hits in English-speaking countries,” as Chen puts it, some industry experts expect Netflix’s streaming competitors to accelerate investments in other countries. and more marketing space for non-English language titles than they would have received before the Squid Game. Apple TV +, for example, recently promoted a new South Korean production called Dr Brain (starring Lee Sun-kyun from Parasite) to the UK audience with regular trailers and posters on both their social media and the platform itself, the other shows and films precede. “Six months ago, they might not have advertised it with the same vigor,” a source told BBC Culture. “Post-Squid Game is a completely different ball game.”
More South Korean content
The most obvious likely effect of Squid Game’s success is that more South Korean content is rapidly being displayed on screens around the world. Appetite seems to be there: at the end of October, a Article on The Guardian full of K-Drama suggestions to check out if you’ve enjoyed Squid Game, it was one of the top 10 most-read articles on the site, above with whistleblower reports on Facebook’s internal practices and rumors of another impending coronavirus lockdown in Great Britain.
“People are discovering Korean content like never before,” says Paquet. This “slow building process” began two decades ago with films like Park Chan-Wook’s cult-beloved Oldboy. “There have been films that did that [manage to] connect with a certain number of people abroad. The last year or two has felt like a big leap forward, however, and more are almost certain to follow. ”A source at a major streaming service corroborates this theory. When asked on condition of anonymity, they suggest to BBC Culture that with Hollywood film and television productions still in catch-up mode after the pandemic shutdown, streamers could well begin licensing other existing South Korean shows to both enjoy success profiting from Squid Game as well as filling their platforms with new content is whether they can create their own by investing in South Korean creators and until then close the gap in the short term by buying existing shows that are not yet available [in Western markets]”, explain it. “That had already happened, of course, but after Squid Game, [there’s] much more urgency. “
South Korean shows are already getting more visibility on platforms. In November, Yeon Sang-ho’s violent fantasy series Hellbound got a marketing boost trying to capitalize on the success of Squid Game such a huge hit. Hellbound then overtook Squid Game as Most watched Netflix series this month, which topped the charts in 80 different countries within 24 hours of its premiere.