Monday, 10 July 2017

Top drama stars paid too much, producers leaning towards 'cheap' rookie actors

With the Korean wave and investments pouring in from China, Hallyu stars' worth are currently on the rise.  Their appearances fees fetch anywhere from $8,700 to $87,000.  SBS "Saimdang: Light's Diary" was 100% pre-produced and received a $10 million investment from Hong Kong's Emperor Entertainment.  The lead actress, Lee Young Ae, reportedly received $87,000 per episode.  

The drama scene is becoming quite different though.  You don't see Hallyu stars like Lee Young Ae as often and it seems like more new faces are filling in the spots of lead roles.  Naturally, the average payout for lead roles are decreasing because of this change.  Insiders say the salary gap between lead actors is starting to get bigger and bigger.  
A starred in a drama on a public broadcast channel which gained a lot of popularity this first half of the year.  'A' received somewhere between $5200 to $6000 per episode.  'A' is rising as a top star, though it hasn't been long since A rose to a 'lead' level position so with that in mind, A's pay was much lower than expected.
New actors B and C have been appearing on a variety of public broadcast mini series and they've both been getting lots of love calls from drama producers.  The reason was because their fees are cheap.  Combining the fact that their faces are somewhat known, their acting skill is alright, and their fees are only around $2600 per episode... a nickname has spread among drama producers, half-jokingly and half-seriously they call them "actors that are a bang for your buck." 
With the after effect of China's ban on Korean entertainment, more of these "bang for your buck actors" are filling up the spots of lead roles.  A broadcast insider said, "Dramas aren't getting enough money without the Chinese market.  So naturally broadcast companies are tightening their belts.  The good days where you could spend almost the entire production budget on the actors' salary alone to make a drama are long gone."

"The reason we're leaning towards new faces is because we also want to give out spots to rookies but truthfully, the biggest reason is because their appearance fees are cheaper.  I think this will continue until the Korean-Chinese relations are resolved."

With that said, there are still actors receiving over $8700 per episode.  These actors are usually the ones appearing on dramas produced by CJ E&M (operates tvN, Mnet, OCN).  They've received a huge investment and have grown their cable viewers so they are able to give actors huge salaries.
D is an actor who isn't yet known to be a 'lead spot' worthy actor but D received a $43,000 contract.  This is something that would hardly be seen for public broadcast channels.  More Hallyu stars are pursuing cable dramas aggressively with the main reasons being they produce higher quality projects and their pay is much larger.
The huge gap between public broadcast and cable companies has formed a gap between salaries.  Another insider revealed, "The higher the actors' fees go up, the less there is for the production budget.  But we still have to offer top stars a huge sum of money.  So all the more, we would rather lean towards new faces to take the lead spots and stop this abnormal rise of salaries.  Even so cable TV channels are still offering large amounts of money so it's hard for public broadcast companies to co-exist with CJ E&M."

Daum: "From $2,612 USD to $87,000 USD.. salaries of small screen leads, a gap between the rich and poor"

1. [+1380, -82] Lee Young Ae ahjumma who can't act, isn't it shameful to take $87,000

2. [+810, -21] The sincere actors, singers, and artists can't get the spotlight.  The big bullies armed with dirty tricks, technique, and media play are the ones living well off the entertainment industry.  But rookies have no choice but to end up following the same cheap tricks and technique... so it's becoming a place filled with bullies.

3. [+642, -24] Lee Young Ae's photo is revealed front and centre~~ yet the other actors are A B C D

4. [+401, -4] Don't use top stars and start raising actors who have the skill... their salaries are way too high~~

5. [+345, -11] Please go to universities and recruit good actors.. don't just play around with companies and use idols..

6. [+248, -9] We need to get rid of entertainment programs that go out and have fun but receive lots of money.. they even film overseas~.. where's the money coming from?..

7. [+239, -11] Lee Young Ae and Song Seunghyun should return all that money if they have a conscience~

8. [+228, -4] That damn ABC is so annoying, at least reading the comments helped quench my curiosity..

9. [+159, -5] At least invest all that money you receive into practicing your acting... some of them don't even have the fundamentals as actors...

10. [+124, -5] Please don't cast actors who can't even pronounce things right, can't act, and only stare at the screen with wide eyes.  The viewers can't understand what they're saying since they can't even speak Korean properly

Daum: From 3,000,000 KRW to 100,000,000 KRW.. salaries of small screen leads, a gap between the rich and poor
Soompi: 13 of the highest paid K-drama actresses and what they earn
Hancinema: 2015 actresses and their salaries
Billboard: China blocks Korean entertainment on streaming platforms over THAAD row
CJ E&M: No.1 contents creation & marketing company
XE Currency Converter [Used to convert KRW to USD]


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