Why is Netflix being sued over ‘Squid Game”s success?
Every now & then, Netflix gives us a show or movie to get completely obsessed with. This time around, the viral sensation came in the form of Squid Game, a Korean survival thriller. The nine-episode series is all everyone can talk about on social media, with #SquidGame trending across the likes of Twitter & Tiktok.
Netflix’s co-CEO Ted Sarandos even shared that Squid Game is on its way to become Netflix’s biggest non-English-language show in the world. There have been concerns about how the subtitles are misleading in that they change the context & meaning of the show for English-speaking audiences, but the series about a violent & grotesque game show is trending at unprecedented levels.
Squid Game may be gory, but that’s not its only problem. The show’s success has, naturally, attracted controversies. So, will these controversies prevent it from becoming the streaming giant’s most successful show to date? Let’s find out what the hullabaloo is all about.
Why are the suits involved?
Here’s the lowdown on things: a South Korean internet service provider company called SK Broadband is out for Netflix. The lawsuit is interestingly a product of the increased traffic brought over by the streaming service. SK Broadband’s claim is that Netflix generates the second-largest traffic in the country after YouTube, but Netflix doesn’t pay network usage fees.
In comparison, all the other streamers, including Amazon, Facebook, and Apple, pay the network usage fees. As the streaming giant’s popularity soars & it uses the network at an increasing rate, it’s only sensible that the internet provider is asking Netflix to pay the fair share.
Let’s talk numbers here: According to the internet service provider company, the traffic that Netflix generates on its network in South Korea has increased 24-fold between May 2018 & September 2021. In turn, this translates into millions of unpaid charges. For an estimate, the year 2020 alone led to an estimated 27.2 billion won in unpaid charges by Netflix.
To boggle your mind a little more, the current usage translates into 1.2 trillion bits of data per second for the month of September. This coincided with the time that Squid Game started going viral all over the world.
Netflix’s response to the suit
In a press statement, a Netflix spokesperson has shared, “We will review the claim that SK Broadband has filed against us. In the meantime, we continue to seek open dialogue and explore ways of working with SK Broadband in order to ensure a seamless streaming experience for our shared customers.”
This wasn’t the first time this issue has surfaced, though. Last year, Netflix’s argument was that it was a content creator & streaming platform that wanted to keep entertainment accessible. Beyond that, the giant argued, it wasn’t its duty to pay the provider for network usage. The Seoul Central District Court did not buy into that argument, asking Netflix to pay reasonable charges to the internet service provider.
We’re in for a long corporate court battle, seeing as Netflix had appealed the decision, which we will witness being whipped out again in December this year. This won’t be the first time Netflix would pay to be able to ensure smooth access to their viewers. Remember Comcast in the US? Netflix had struck a deal with the service provider to ensure priority treatment & better video quality.
Meanwhile, people can’t stop raving about the show. Following the story of Seong Gi-Hun, Squid Game show contestants competing in gory competitions for a huge award sum. And while the winner gets a gigantic sum to take home, the losers lose their lives. It gives us a lot of The Hunger Games vibes. Who knew children’s games could be such a risky business?