Netflix's Squid Game Success Is So Huge, Even Amazon Boss Jeff Bezos Has Thoughts

squid game characters in costume
(Image credit: Netflix)

Netflix is obviously no stranger to scoring major wins with its original programming, from feature films to TV series to gripping documentaries and everything in between. And while one might not have expected the action-packed South Korean survival drama Squid Game to immediately become more popular than just about everything else in the streaming services’ original projects library, that’s essentially what’s happening now. And it’s not just binge-happy fans that are paying attention to that success, either, as even Amazon’s big boss Jeff Bezos has voiced some praise for his streaming competitor.

Amazon Video will deliver some major genre projects in the near-ish future, with an adaptation of Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time novel series, as well as its big Lord of the Rings prequel-verse. But that doesn’t mean the parent company’s founder Jeff Bezos isn’t paying attention to what’s doing well elsewhere, as the mega-billionaire tweeted some seldomly shared praise for Netflix’s top execs in reacting to a story about Squid Game’s pop culture takeover

Reed Hastings and Ted Sarandos and the team at Netflix get it right so often. Their internationalization strategy isn’t easy, and they’re making it work. Impressive and inspiring. (And I can’t wait to watch the show.)

Just in case anybody thought that some of Jeff Bezos’ accolades were specifically about Squid Game’s intense storyline and madcap energy, Amazon’s former CEO and current executive chairman still hasn’t actually watched it yet, though it does sound like he’s interested in checking it out soon. Here’s hoping he doesn’t get any ideas, however, since Amazon is one of the few companies in the world that could probably pull off a deadly contest like this clandestinely. Although if the show is any indication, people might enjoy that idea a little too much. 

Rather than offering praise for the content’s narrative merit, the space-faring Jeff Bezos was admiring the business skills of Netflix’s co-CEOs Reed Hastings and Ted Sarandos, who have had more success than any other streaming service at becoming a global phenomenon. A lot of that triumph is embedded in just how many different countries around the world now have subscriber bases, but Squid Game highlights another major factor explaining Netflix’s dominance: the ability to turn U.S. viewers onto more and more internationally produced projects. 

While there are no doubt still people making tired jokes about watching TV shows and movies with subtitles or lazy dubbing, Netflix has gone a long way to prove the value of watching content that was created by completely different cultures. And no, I’m not just talking about The Crown, although that series is clearly quite popular in its own right, at least with Emmy voters. With other popular and acclaimed originals such as Money Heist, Dark, Lupin and more, there’s no end in sight for how far TV can expand on the service. 

Season 1 of Squid Game is currently streaming on Netflix, along with the hit horror thriller Midnight Mass, but be sure to check out our 2021 Fall TV premiere schedule to see when all the other new and returning shows will debut.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.