Netflix sued by South Korean internet company over popularity of thriller series Squid Game

Squid Game has gained stratospheric popularity across the world since its release last month. Credit: Netflix

Netflix bosses are being sued by a South Korean internet provider over the global popularity of its latest hit series Squid Game.

The Korean-language thriller series has become a worldwide phenomenon since its launch on September 17 and is poised to become the US streaming platform's "biggest show ever".

It has become so successful that SK Broadband has sued Netflix to pay the internet provider for a surge in network traffic and maintenance work caused by fans watching the series, according to Reuters.

The company said in its claims that it is South Korea's second largest traffic generator after YouTube and that Netflix should "reasonably" pay something in return, as Squid Game trends at number one worldwide.

It added that the popularity of Squid Game and other Korean shows have reinforced Netflix's status as South Korea's second largest data traffic generator after YouTube, owned by Google - but the companies are the only two content platforms not paying network usage fees.

Other providers such as Amazon, Apple and Facebook are paying fees, added SK Broadband.

Netflix said it will review the claim and "seek dialogue" with SK Broadband to make sure customers' viewing is not affected.

In a statement on Friday, a Netflix spokesperson told CNBC: "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."

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According to the claim, Netflix's data traffic via the internet provider increased 24 times from May 2018 to 1.2 trillion bits of data processed per second to September.

Squid Game sees hundreds take part in a competition shrouded in mystery to play lethal children's games for a multi-billion cash prize.Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos said: “Squid Game will definitely be our biggest non-English language show in the world, for sure, and there’s a very good chance it’s going to be our biggest show ever.”