Hot on the heels of the wild popularity of Netflix’s Squid Game, a broadband provider in South Korea has sued the streaming giant over the alleged surge of traffic it’s been forced to deal with in its wake.
SK Broadband has launched a claim for Netflix to pay for costs as well as maintenance work due to the apparent surge of viewers to the platform’s content, according to Reuters.
Dystopian survival outing Squid Game has become one of the most popular releases on Netflix, following its September 17 premiere, and is the first-ever Korean series to land at number one on the platform. The acclaimed nine-episode series mixes violence and horror with playground games familiar to millions.
It comes after a Seoul court previously said Netflix should ‘reasonably’ give something in return to SK Broadband for network usage.
In a statement to CNBC, a Netflix spokesperson said: ‘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.’
According to SK, the streaming platform’s data traffic handled by the internet provider increased 24-fold from May 2018, to 1.2 trillion bits of data processed per second as of September (which was allegedly off the back of Korean productions including Squid Game and D.P).
Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos recently mused on the success of Squid Game, noting it was number one ‘like everywhere in the world’ and added there’s ‘a very good chance it’s going to be our biggest show ever.’
SK is seeking for Netflix to pay for usage dating back to 2018 and has estimated the network usage it needed to pay for 2020 was about 27.2 billion won (£16 million) alone. It had claimed while Netflix is South Korea’s second-largest traffic generator behind YouTube it doesn’t pay usage fees, while other platforms, such as Amazon, Facebook and Apple, do.
Adding another layer, last year Netflix brought its own lawsuit as to whether it had any obligation to pay the broadband provider for network usage. It argued its duty ended with creating content and leaving it accessible, adding delivery in the Internet world is ‘free of charge as a principle’.
The Seoul Central District Court ruled against Netflix in June, saying that SK is seen as providing ‘a service provided at a cost’ and it is ‘reasonable’ for Netflix to be ‘obligated to provide something in return’.
According to reports, court documents show Netflix appealed against the ruling, and fresh proceedings are due to start in late December.
Squid Game is available on Netflix now.
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