Netflix to Make a Cool $870 Million 'Profit' Off of 'Squid Game,' Leaked Docs Say

Netflix series 'Squid Game'
Netflix series 'Squid Game' (Image credit: Netflix)

At least one Bothan got fired to bring us this information...

Netflix paid $21.4 million for local-language limited series sensation Squid Game, but will end up with content it values at around $891 million, based on the streaming company's proprietary financial metrics. 

The data comes courtesy of Bloomberg, which appears to have obtained it from a since-fired, internal Netflix source. 

Unless you're living in North Korea, you probably already know that nine-part South Korean, dystopian-themed limited series Squid Game just yielded Netflix's largest first-28-days global audience ever

Also Read: 'Squid Game' Shatters Netflix's 28-Day Viewership Record

Netflix doesn't sell advertising against its content, or otherwise directly attach revenue to specific shows. But the company has a proprietary measurement it calls "impact value" to assess the worth of its movies and TV shows. 

Also Read: 'Squid Game,' Netflix's Latest Inexplicable Hit (Review)

Thanks to a Netflix company "Culture Memo" philosophy that attempts to treat every employee like an adult deserving of basic human dignity, we now know this ... and some other things.

The basic tenet of Netflix culture and its so-called "radical transparency" is that every employee may have access to sensitive company data, but they won't share it with Bloomberg because the prime directive is to serve Netflix. 

In this case, the unnamed, since-terminated employee seems to have chosen another prime directive, tied to another well-publicized piece of Netflix content: comedian Dave Chappelle's latest, most-controversial-of-all standup specials, The Closer

Specifically, he/she allegedly leaked financial data on three other titles, besides Squid Game, according to the Bloomberg article:

> The Closer, which the leak said costs Netflix $24.1 million

> Chappelle's 2019 standup special Sticks & Stones, which the leaked docs said costs $23.6 million but had an impact value of only $19.4 million for an "efficiency score" of 0.8 (another Netflix proprietary performance metric).

> Comedian Bo Burnham's standup special Inside, which the leak said costs $3.9 million but generated an efficiency score of 2.0. 

The leak, Netflix said, was in response to Netflix's publishing -- and subsequent backing by upper management -- of The Closer, which members of the LGBTQ community vehemently claim contains dangerous anti-trans messages. 

This dissent has included the ranks of Netflix employees, three of whom were temporarily suspended for crashing a Netflix PR strategy meeting they weren't invited to. 

“We have let go an employee for sharing confidential, commercially sensitive information outside the company,” a Netflix spokesperson said in a statement. 

“We understand this employee may have been motivated by disappointment and hurt with Netflix, but maintaining a culture of trust and transparency is core to our company," the statement added. 

Daniel Frankel

Daniel Frankel is the managing editor of Next TV, an internet publishing vertical focused on the business of video streaming. A Los Angeles-based writer and editor who has covered the media and technology industries for more than two decades, Daniel has worked on staff for publications including E! Online, Electronic Media, Mediaweek, Variety, paidContent and GigaOm. You can start living a healthier life with greater wealth and prosperity by following Daniel on Twitter today!