Squid Game Is Officially Netflix's Most Popular Show Of All Time

People have already spent 182,000 years watching "Squid Game" on Netflix. The Korean-language survival series debuted on September 17, 2021, so it's been out there for two full months now, and in its first four weeks alone, it logged 1.65 billion hours of viewing, according to the latest data from Netflix (by way of Variety). The series only runs nine episodes, and with the exception of the penultimate episode, they're all about an hour in length.

This cements "Squid Game" as the most popular Netflix series of all time. We'd heard previously that it was the streamer's biggest series launch, but now it has officially dethroned "Bridgerton" as Netflix's biggest show. Of course, "Bridgerton" had only held that title since January, and there was some question as to how many people had really stuck with the series, because Netflix had a funny way of counting two minutes as a "view," meaning that a subscriber could theoretically bail on a show after a few minutes and still get lumped in with people who had watched the whole thing.

It applied the same metric to "Squid Game" before, saying that 142 million households had sampled the series, but again, that was just based on how many people watched two minutes of it or more. It's not quite the same as counting how many people bought tickets for a movie on opening weekend. Nor is it the same as Nielsen ratings on TV, where we get a fuller picture of demographics and not only what's popular but what's unpopular, the least-viewed shows.

However, by counting aggregate viewing hours, and bringing in an accounting firm to audit the results, Netflix is at least superficially making a bid for more transparency and a more accurate assessment of overall audience engagement.

Masked Figures in Red Hoods Are a Recipe for Success

This new data indicates that the next most popular non-English show on Netflix — with 619 million hours of viewing — is Spain's "Money Heist: Part 4." Oddly enough, that show also features masked figures in red hoods, so it would seem those are a good luck charm for it and "Squid Game."

"Stranger Things" season 3 and "The Witcher" season 1 are the second and third most popular English shows, and the fourth and fifth most popular TV titles on Netflix overall. "The Witcher" has Henry "Superman" Cavill going for it, but before "Squid Game," it always seemed like there was much more buzz (around the genre-fan water cooler, at least) for "Stranger Things" than either "Bridgerton" or "Money Heist."

The first season of "Squid Game" had a somewhat open ending (which could have played out differently), and creator Hwang Dong-hyuk recently confirmed that the series will be coming back for a second season. At the rate it's going, people will easily have spent another 182,000 years watching "Squid Game" before the second season even hits.