Netflix is ​​building on its horror success to compete in streaming – Quartz

Netflix gets the biggest hit squid gameand turn it into a reality show without killing off the losing contestants like a fictional TV show does.

Despite the success squid gamestreaming network received criticism for the sometimes extreme violence depicted in the series, where players either won the grand prize or were killed by the game’s hosts. The fact that Netflix is ​​now directly exploiting the fictional game show’s dark premise for the reality competition is the latest sign that it may be desperate to stem the deluge of subscribers from its platform as streaming competition continues to heat up.

The new show is called Squid Game Challenge, and will feature 456 contestants competing against each other to win $4.56 million. “The stakes are high, but in this game, the worst fate is to return home empty-handed,” according to the Netflix website. Casting for English-speaking contestants already started.

Somewhat similar to organized by Joe Rogan Fear factorwhich debuted in 2001 and forced players to participate in various rough and scary challenges, Squid Game Challenge guide contestants through quizzes to win money. Rogan’s show was initially successful but then canceled due to declining ratings, but it was early evidence that such contests could work on television.

The horror economy and why Netflix isn’t afraid to scare viewers away

Aside from the cheap thrills (and low production costs) associated with reality TV, what Squid Game Challenge also shows that Netflix relies on horror as a driving force for its audience. squid game is the company’s most successful TV show to date, with 1.6 billion hours watched in its first 28 days, and the recently launched Strangers Season 4 is the most watched English TV show ever, with nearly 800 million hours watched in its first 28 days.

In fact, there are only two titles in the current top 10 most watched English-language Netflix TV shows that not contain either significant elements of horror or violent death as a theme. As can be seen from his decision to start wiring Having created its own TV and movie popularity charts over the past year, Netflix is ​​increasingly relying on data to determine which direction to go in order to attract the most viewers.

To some extent, however, Netflix is ​​simply following Hollywood’s lead. When it comes to low production costs ensuring big box office returns, the horror genre has been one of the most reliable areas of content. Pairing low-cost, mostly unscripted reality shows with low-cost horror themes is a combination that would seduce even the most culturally conservative TV network.

Netflix’s ease of embracing horror and violence is another component that sets it apart from its rival Disney+, which posted this week. warning on his Star Wars Obi-Wan Kenobi show to warn viewers against scenes of violence involving children.

So far, Netflix’s decision to monetize the theme of their death race for cash has been a bit of a drag, bringing it to real life. But the fictional version shouldn’t be released until next year, so there will be plenty of time in the meantime to assess the cultural implications.

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