It was reported that the per-episode appearance amount of actor Kim Soo-hyun, who stars in “Queen of Tears,” is 300 million won. This is also said to have been significantly reduced.

When Kim Soo-hyun appeared in Coupang’s original series “One Ordinary Day”, released in November 2011, it was reported that he received 500 million won per episode. When reports surfaced that Kim Soo-hyun was receiving 800 million won per episode for “Queen of Tears”, officials actively intervened to clarify the situation. An official said: “The reported 800 million won per episode is grossly inflated. In fact, Kim Soo-hyun reduced the amount compared to his previous work. »

Kim Soo-hyun in Queens of tears

The total production budget for “Queen of Tears” is estimated at around 40 billion won. If calculated at 800 million won per episode, Kim Soo-hyun’s remuneration alone would amount to 12,8 billion won, or a third of the total production budget. It appears that Kim Soo-hyun is receiving lower per-episode compensation than his previous works to ease the burden of production costs amid recent difficulties faced by the K-drama industry.

However, local streaming companies still find a per-episode fee of 300 million won burdensome. Industry insiders explained that until recently, the salary for leading actors was 100 million to 200 million won. Foreign streaming platforms such as Netflix and Disney+ have significantly increased the remuneration of lead actors in K-dramas. According to the streaming industry, the salaries of lead actors in Netflix and Disney+ productions are more than double those of traditional streaming companies.

Squid Games

With their significant financial resources, they attract talented actors and quality productions. Recently, it was reported that lead actors in Disney+ productions received 400 million won per episode. The per-episode fee of Lee Jung-jae, the lead actor of season 2 of the Netflix original series “Squid Game”, is said to be 1 billion won.

The appearance fee for IU, who appears in the Netflix K-drama “When Life Gives You Tangerines,” is reported to be 500 million won, but the production company denies this. However, even production company representatives said that famous actors demand 1 billion won per episode, calling into question the high fees charged by actors.

Kim Go-eun

Kim Go-eun appeared on YouTube and admitted, “ I think it’s a question of conscience and responsibility as an actor to receive fair remuneration.”, recognizing the increase in actors’ fees.

According to a report on actors’ salaries released during last year’s National Assembly inspection, main actors’ salaries average more than 100 million won per episode. Many actors earn 200 million won per episode. Productions from foreign streaming platforms pay even higher prices.

Only a few years ago, domestic streaming platforms were overflowing with numerous productions, but the decline in investment in K-dramas is attributed to the skyrocketing fees of lead actors.

One day off

Wavve has no K-drama to offer this year. In 2022, Wavve aired 4 original K-dramas, but last year there were only two, including “One Day Off” and “The Deal”. Even TV networks are seeing a decline in K-dramas. SBS has no K-dramas on weekdays. Production companies refuse to produce K-dramas without pre-established platforms to distribute them. One industry insider even said: “The production cost per episode for miniseries on terrestrial channels is around 500 million to 800 million won. It is impossible to use famous actors. »

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