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‘Squid Game’ Racks Up Over 3 Billion Minutes Viewed in Nielsen’s Latest Streaming Report

The massive popularity of Netflix's "Squid Game" is practically unheard of for a non-English language streaming show.

Lee Jung-jae in "Squid Game"

Lee Jung-jae in “Squid Game”

Noh Juhan | Netflix

What does a massive viral success look like? Search no further, for the answer is “Squid Game,” which racked up a staggering 3.2 billion minutes in viewership in Nielsen’s latest report on streaming metrics.

Nielsen’s latest report, which was based on viewership data from September 27 to October 3, marks the sixth time that a title had surpassed 3 billion minutes viewed in a week, per Deadline. “Squid Game” made its debut on Nielsen’s weekly reports last week, when it trounced the competition with 1.9 billion minutes viewed. The Korean-language drama series, which centers on deeply indebted individuals who participate in a twisted game show for the chance to win millions, had nearly triple the viewership of Netflix’s “Midnight Mass,” the second highest-ranked title of the week, which was viewed for 1.17 billion minutes.

Now the question is how long “Squid Game” will maintain its first place ranking in Nielsen’s reports. The odds could be in the show’s favor: Though many debut highly on Nielsen’s reports before quickly falling off in subsequent weeks, many Netflix titles, such as “Lucifer,” tend to have strong week-to-week longevity. Given the unusually high level of popularity for “Squid Game” and the fact that the show and director Hwang Dong-hyuk are still making headlines, it’s possible that “Squid Game” will remain a mainstay on Nielsen’s reports for at least several more weeks.

The strong success of “Squid Game” is certain to sit well with Netflix, which has made a point to highlight its investments in its non-English language programming in its quarterly earnings reports. Hwang told IndieWire in a recent interview that although he did not have plans for a sophomore season while working on the show, the popularity of “Squid Game” has given him ample pressure to consider a Season 2.

Netflix had a dominant showing in Nielsen’s latest report due to “Squid Game” and “Midnight Mass,” but the report was also Nielsen’s most diverse in its history of streaming measurements, with shows from five different streaming services appearing on the list. That’s a first for Nielsen’s streaming reports, the latest of which featured shows from Hulu, Apple TV+, Netflix, Disney+, and Amazon Prime Video. Apple’s critically acclaimed “Ted Lasso” was the sixth most-viewed show on Nielsen’s latest report, with 455 million minutes viewed, while Amazon Prime Video’s “Goliath” and Hulu’s “Only Murders in the Building” ranked seventh and ninth, respectively.

Nielsen’s data is only based on United States audiences using TV sets and covers Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Disney+, and Apple TV+ — HBO Max and Peacock programming has yet to be included in Nielsen’s reports. The company releases its streaming data reports on a roughly one-month delay due to an arrangement with the aforementioned streaming services. The entertainment industry’s major streamers do not regularly release their own verifiable viewership data.

As for high-profile titles that were missing from Nielsen’s latest report, Disney+’s animated “Star Wars: Visions” series, which premiered in full on September 22, did not rank on Nielsen’s report. The show was also eligible to appear on Nielsen’s report last week, which suggests that the show is unlikely to surface despite strong reviews from critics.

Top 10 Original Streaming TV Shows

1. Squid Game (Netflix) – 3,260 million minutes

2. Midnight Mass (Netflix) – 1,171 million minutes

3. Lucifer (Netflix) – 536 million minutes

4. The Great British Baking Show (Netflix) – 534 million minutes

5. Sex Education (Netflix) – 469 million minutes

6. Ted Lasso (Apple TV+) – 455 million minutes

7. Goliath (Amazon Prime Video) – 359 million minutes

8. The Circle (Netflix) – 266 million minutes

9. Only Murders in the Building (Hulu) – 263 million minutes

10. What If…? (Disney+) – 223 million minutes

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