Squid Game and the Advent of non-English Content
On its way to becoming the most popular show on Netflix, the Korean survival drama series is an example of how quality content breaks the language barriers and gives the viewers an experience rather than something filler.
Another example of breaking language barriers in the Korean entertainment industry is the black-comedy thriller film ‘Parasite’, released in 2019, it was a recipient of many accolades including the Academy Award for Best Picture and was the first non-English film to win one.
Korean Entertainment is undoubtedly on its way to compete with English and Spanish content. Netflix is dominated by English content followed by Spanish language content after those two are languages based in Europe and South America like Portuguese, French, German and Turkish. Hindi and other Indian languages have also started garnering more eyes on Netflix. There is also the notoriously popular K-Pop industry. The rise in non-English content over the years proves that the viewers don’t necessarily need content that is their own language, however, Netflix does offer translations. Squid Game is available in many languages originally Korean followed by English and other regional languages.
Squid Game’s rise is similar to that of the German sci-fi series ‘Dark’ and the Spanish drama series ‘Money Heist’, all three were well-received by the general Netflix audience and the shows went on to become famous not necessarily for their quality but the general plot and the characters. In 2019, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said that Sacred Games was viewed twice as many times as the Indian audience viewed it That statement says a lot about the reach of Over-the-top platforms and how the content produced anywhere whether be in South Korea or India is viewed internationally twice as much because the Netflix audiences are heavily located in the Americas and Europe.
In this new age of OTT content, audiences want more diversity and different sorts of well-written quality entertainment. Many have acknowledged that this content can come from any part of the world. This advent of non-English content is a step towards the diversification of the global entertainment industry. The advent doesn’t affect it directly but it influences people on what they should watch and makes people aware of the regional talent. This helps in setting new standards for the OTT industry which it deserves.
Originally written on 2nd October for Namaste MIT.