“Squid Game” swept through the prestigious Emmy Awards with various prizes, but Netflix may be facing their largest crisis yet.
On September 12th (local time), the 74th Primetime Emmy Awards, which is the most prestigious awards ceremony in the American broadcasting industry, was held. Here, the original Netflix series “Squid Game” became the winner of various categories, proving itself to be a global syndrome since its release in September of last year. As the producers and cast members of “Squid Game” celebrated and enjoyed their success, however, Netflix couldn’t smile. The reason? It can be seen through the overall win report that Netflix, which once reigned over all OTT platforms, achieved results far behind latecomers, and the 2022 Emmy Awards may be where their crisis is confirmed.
Once the champion among OTT platforms, Netflix has lost its throne
Netflix received a total of 26 awards at the Emmy Creative Arts Awards and the Primetime Emmy Awards, which were held in Los Angeles, USA, on September 3rd and 12th (local time), respectively. Among those, only 3 are trophies at the Emmy Primetime, which is the main event. Fortunately, “Squid Game” managed to save Netflix’s face by securing 2 wins in the main categories Best Director and Best Actor.
This performance of Netflix fell far behind HBO, which won a total of 38 awards, 12 among them being at the Emmy Primetime. This is a far cry from last year, where Netflix – then hailed as the world’s No.1 OTT platform, won 44 categories, completely overwhelming HBO, which only won 19.
In addition, Netflix reported decline not only in terms of the quantity of awards, but also in terms of quality. In 2021, the platform won Best Picture – which is the highest honor, thanks to “The Crown” (drama category) and “The Queen’s Gambit” (mini-series category), only to lose to HBO this year.
In 2022, HBO was named the winner of Best Picture for “Succession” in the drama category and “The White Lotus” in the mini-series category. Meanwhile, another latecomer, Apple TV+, won Best Picture in the comedy series category with “Ted Lasso”. In addition, at the American Academy Awards (better known as the Oscars), which was held in March, Apple TV+ became the first OTT platform to be honored with Best Picture thanks to their original movie “CODA”, beating Netflix, which consistently produced Oscar nominations.
Netflix has taken a safe route: Will another “Squid Game” ever come out?
Netflix recently celebrated its 25th anniversary on August 29th. At the moment, Netflix remains the world’s No. 1 OTT platform with 220 million subscribers. However, the number of Netflix subscribers dropped for the first time in 11 years in the first quarter of 2022, and 970,000 people unsubscribed in the second quarter. Due to this, Netflix has been focusing on ways to improve profits, such as implementing a 15% surprise rate increase from the end of 2021 and releasing a low-cost plan with advertisements before and in the middle of its content starting from the fourth quarter of 2022.
However, the results of this year’s Emmy Awards clearly show that the Netflix crisis is not solely due to external factors such as the rise of latecomers and stagnation of the OTT industry. Critics point out that Netflix, which attracted subscribers by releasing experimental series such as “Squid Game,” “Breaking Bad,” and “Money Heist,” has not grown in quality because the main focus has been on quantitative expansion. Analysts say that Netflix has lost the originality of its contents.
In fact, this year, Netflix has released various original K-dramas and films such as “The Sound of Magic,” “Remarriage & Desires,” “Love and Leashes,” “Yaksha,” and “Carter” since the success of “Squid Game”, but most of them failed to become hits except for “All Of Us Are Dead” and “Juvenile Justice.”
In particular, “Money Heist: Korea – Joint Economic Area,” which was released in June, received great expectations from global viewers as it was remade from the Spanish original, one of Netflix’s biggest shows. However, fans of the original turned their backs on “Money Heist Korea” due to its lacking production and controversial acting. “A Model Family” and “Seoul Vibe” were also reminiscent of Hollywood hits “Ozark” and “Baby Driver,” but received cold reviews and were deemed underwhelming.
Jung Deok Hyun, a pop culture critic, analyzed, “Netflix has mastered the know-how and continued to invest aggressively in the Korean market, but in recent content planning, they tend to make safe choices.”
He continued, “Rather than making experimental and challenging attempts, Netflix seems unable to provide unique originality of contents. Instead, they keep remaking successful content, extending the season, and following popular genre formulas. Contents reminiscent of existing works cannot attract subscribers with wider OTT choices.”