This year is shaping up to be full of dramas that are setting the bar to be some of the most popular, memorable, and expensive. Korean dramas are proving to be a hot commodity overseas, and Chinese distributors know this. Cheese in the Trap kicked off 2016 breaking records for being sold at $125,000 per episode, and broadcasting rights have ballooned since then because the price tag for Descendants of the Sun pales in comparison to the upcoming drama Scarlet Heart: Ryeo.

The historical fantasy drama Scarlet Heart: Ryeo is reportedly selling to Youku for more than triple that amount of Cheese in the Trap at $400,000 per episode for a total of 8 million dollars. While this already seems high, it is supposedly on the low end. In July, the United States and South Korea jointly decided to deploy a Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system in South Korea. China, opposed to the decision, posed economic restraints on the U.S and South Korea, including the activities of South Korean celebrities. If it weren’t for the political situation, the airing rights for Scarlet Heart: Ryeo supposedly could have been much higher.

Rights for Descendants of the Sun and Uncontrollably Fond were tied for selling at $250,000 per episode. Broken down by how many episodes each series carried, Uncontrollably Fond outsold Descendants of the Sun, bringing in $5 million in broadcasting rights with a 20-episode run, while Descendants of the Sun brought in $4 million with a 16-episode run.

Are you surprised by how much each drama costs to license alone?


Scarlet Heart: Ryeo

Starring Lee Joon Ki and Lee Ji Eun (IU)

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Cover photo cr: SBS