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‘Squid Game’ Begins its Reign of Nielsen’s Streaming Viewership Rankings

The Korean-language Netflix drama dominated discussions on social media when it premiered on the streaming service in September.

"Squid Game"

“Squid Game”


Netflix has touted the massive success of its “Squid Game” drama for several weeks, and now there are third-party numbers to back up the success of the fall TV hit nobody saw coming.

Nielsen’s latest report on the most viewed streaming TV shows of the week, which was based on data from September 20 to September 26, stated that “Squid Game” was viewed for 1.91 billion minutes, making it the most-viewed show of the week by a considerable margin. Netflix’s “Lucifer,” a consistently popular fantasy series that regularly tops Nielsen’s reports, ranked second, with 860 million minutes viewed.

“Squid Game” has been the subject of spirited social media discussions for weeks and was widely expected to top Nielsen’s streaming rankings. The Hwang Dong-hyuk-directed drama series centers on deeply indebted individuals who choose to participate in a deadly game show for the chance to win millions of dollars. “Squid Game” premiered September 17 and quickly spread via word of mouth and positive press. Netflix claimed on October 12 that “Squid Game” had “reached” 111 million viewers, making it the biggest series launch in the streaming service’s history.

Hwang discussed the series’ popularity in a recent interview with IndieWire. At the time, he noted that he did not create the series with an intention to continue the plot in a sophomore season but noted that he has received a notable amount of requests to return to the world of “Squid Game” in the future.

“I’m getting a lot of pressure on Season 2,” Hwang said. “I think I do have the obligation to explain it to the fans and I’m thinking about Season 2, but at the time, I was so tired after finishing Season 1, I couldn’t really think of Season 2. But now that it’s become such a big hit, people would hate me if I don’t make a Season 2, so I feel a lot of pressure and think I’d have to. The big success of Season 1 is a big reward to me, but at the same time it’s given me a lot of pressure.”

Nielsen’s latest streaming rankings mark the first time that the company factored Apple TV+ programming into the report. The streaming service’s hit Jason Sudeikis-led “Ted Lasso” ranked fifth, with 509 million minutes viewed. WarnerMedia’s HBO Max and NBCUniversal’s Peacock streaming services are still not factored into Nielsen’s reports.

Nielsen’s data is only based on United States audiences using TV sets and covers Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Disney+, and Apple TV+. 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 notable television shows that failed to break into Nielsen’s streaming report, Disney+’s animated “Star Wars: Visions” anthology series premiered on the streaming service on September 22 but did not appear in Nielsen’s latest report.

Top 10 Original Streaming TV Shows

1. Squid Game (Netflix) – 1,910 million minutes

2. Lucifer (Netflix) – 860 million minutes

3. Sex Education (Netflix) – 856 million minutes

4. Midnight Mass (Netflix) – 566 million minutes

5. Ted Lasso (Apple TV+) – 509 million minutes

6. The Circle (Netflix) – 436 million minutes

7. Clickbait (Netflix) – 409 million minutes

8. The Great British Baking Show (Netflix) – 381 million minutes

9. Only Murders in the Building (Hulu) – 299 million minutes

10. Monsters Inside: The 24 Faces of Billy Milligan (Netflix) – 251 million minutes

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