Red Hot Lee Jun Ki Fields Offers as Joseon Gunman Leads the Chinese Online Viewcount of Summer 2014 K-dramas

It was a great summer for Lee Jun Ki as his sageuk drama Joseon Gunman was the top-rated prime time drama for its time slot. Overall the ratings were down to the low teens or high single digits across all the networks but this summer did see three solid dramas in the Wed-Thurs offering. JG was up against It’s Okay, It’s Love and Fated to Love You, creating not just solid competition but diversity in genre choices for the audience. JG offered old-fashion sageuk action and romance, IOIL challenged the difficult subject matter of mental illness with a mature appeal, and FLTY remade a popular TW-drama attempting to freshen up the rom-com. JG was the most consistently satisfying for me throughout its run but IOIL will likely stick longer in my memory with some truly incredible acting and storytelling moments.

Part of the reason television ratings as a whole have fallen in domestic Korean ratings is due to the rise in online streaming of dramas. For overseas audiences streaming might be the only option to watch a K-drama and in China all the major K-dramas have been properly licensed to one of the top Chinese streaming portals. Summer remains the peak season for online drama, movie, and variety show watching since kids are out of school and the Chinese media has released a list of the top-10 streamed K-dramas over this 2014 summer season. Joseon Gunman was the runaway (by far) top viewed K-drama at over 318 million hits as of September 1st. Coming in second is FTLY with 172 million hits followed by IOIL with 169 million views. To get an idea of how big and lucrative the Chinese market is, the entire population of South Korea is currently slightly over 50 million people.

K-drama summer streaming views on top four Chinese portals QQ, Tudou, Youku, and Sohu as of September 1st.

1. Joseon Gunman – 318 million views

2. Fated to Love You – 172 million views

3. It’s Okay, It’s Love – 169 million views

4. Marriage Not Dating – 120 million views

5. Temptation – 115 million views

6. High School King of Savvy – 78 million views

7. Hi School: Love On – 54 million views

8. Two Mothers – 49 million

9. Only Love – 39 million views

10. Trot Lovers – 35 million views

Lee Jun Ki usually does one K-drama a year and since his return from military service three years ago hasn’t done a K-movie yet despite his career start as a movie actor. His agency has revealed that Lee Jun Ki has been inundated with movie and drama offers from China all summer long and he’s sincerely looking through it all to decide whether to accept a cross-border project. The list above was compiled in early September but I check today on QQ and JG is about to break 400 million views which is impressive of itself but even moreso considering its a sageuk which isn’t as popular in China as modern dramas like the two biggest hits of last year Heirs and You From Another Star.

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Red Hot Lee Jun Ki Fields Offers as Joseon Gunman Leads the Chinese Online Viewcount of Summer 2014 K-dramas — 34 Comments

  1. Awesome!!! My love for LJK grew over time. I really wasn’t too much into his acting. Until TBDAW. I am really surprised that JG is so much more ahead. Wow!

  2. so happy for him, he strikes me as a young intelligent man who contemplates a lot before he chooses a project. which in turn makes me watch all his stuff because I trust it to be good.

  3. Good for him. But the amount of hits for his drama in China can’t compare to You From Another Star. That drama received over 2 billion hits.

    • There is no need to state the obvious that YFAS is the biggest hit this year from Korea but then the statistic you quoted doesn’t even make sense as a comparative marker here. The hits above are for dramas that premiered this summer and aired for 3 months . YFAS has had 2 billion hits since it premiered 9 months ago. It’s an apples to oranges comparison.

      • 14.5 billion views? I think it’s probably 1.45 billion. People always seem to get this wrong… 1 yi in Chinese means 100 million, not 1 billion…

      • @ Kia

        That’s still besides the point to bring up YFAS’s undisputed and fantastic success in this drama in the first place, yes? It’s the purview of a smug fan needing to put unrelated others down.

        Also @anon is absolutely right. YFAS during its 3 month run got 1.45 billion views in China, which is staggering and likely hard to ever reach. But it’s not 14.5 billion since currently the Earth’s entire population is 7.5 billion human beings. It’s weird to see a NYT’s reporter make such a mistake in just using the Chinese numerical name of 14亿 as 14 billion. In Chinese 1亿 equals 100 million therefore 10亿 equals 1 billion so for YFAS the 14亿 is 1.4 billion.

      • @ockoala – erm not really? Since you’re countering that YFAS was aired 9 months ago and is apparently thus comparing apples to oranges, Kia is just pointing out that the drama broke a way bigger number than that in its 3 months airing compared to JG. I see no ‘smug’ fan here. Just someone stating facts.

      • @Emil

        My response to Kia was not calling Kia’s additional information smug, I meant @Sandra’s original comment in bringing YFAS up in this comment thread was smug and pointless regardless of whether the statistic Sandra quoted was for a 3 month or 9 month airing. It was nice of Kia to clear up that the statistic was for YFAS’s run but this post was about the summer 2014 K-dramas and its view count. YFAS did not air in the summer and is not competing with any of these dramas. And the article did not claim JG or any dramas that aired this summer was the most viewed K-drama ever in China and required @Sandra to correct it by bringing up how much more YFAS was viewed.

        That was what I was referring to as smug, the bringing up of unnecessary and unrelated success of YFAS simply to make a point that isn’t even relevant. If we want to talk about the most successful Kdrama export of all time in China or anywhere else, and in domestic Korea, then we will forever and ever still be bringing up Dae Jang Geum in every conversation. That’s just silly.

      • @Sandra At first, you needed to understand about this article. It’s about the view counts of k-dramas aired this summer. Second, is there any rumours or the confirmed news for the sequel of YFAS? No.
        Lee Jun Ki gave his opinion on choosing rom-com genre plots, and this year’s rom-com hit is YFAS so he just stated it by being humble. Isn’t he too nice he could do that? He won’t choose of any sequel if he gets those offers since he’s one of the actors in position to choose the scripts he wants to do among many offers.

        Why trying hard to compete against one another, a rom-com and a historical-action genre? It’s more hilarious to see someone took this statement seriously while there’s any news of planning that sequel.

      • Typo: …It’s more hilarious to see someone took this statement seriously while there’s **NO** news of planning that sequel.

  4. Great! All the best to Lee Jun Ki on his next project! He is one talented, sincere, hard-working actor who does his best in every project he picks. I wish him well. 🙂

  5. Look what came number 4! Marriage Not Dating power woot woot!! No big name stars, airing on cable and yet it’s ahead of A-list ladden network dramas.

  6. i wonder if the china market is truly lucrative, i mean isn’t streaming free? i know in the japanese market, they will not only watch but actually buy the dvd if they love the drama…i have a feeling that the chinese market is somewhat overated because there are plenty of sites without commercials where you don’t have to pay a dime to watch

    • It’s definitely more lucrative than the Japanese market. They’re paying USD200k per episode for exclusive rights to broadcast Rain’s current drama. That’s enough to pay off the pay of the celebrities already. Plus, obviously those video-streaming sites earn from playing advertisements from their country.

  7. I guess LSG’s You’re surrounded missed out Summer hit as it started in April, it did 55 million which is above Josen and I think was 50 million when it ended. Josen is behind it int the list below.

    http://v.qq.com/rank/detail/2_-1_-1_-1_1_4.html

    The surprising thing though, the counts are high but there no big huge leap for the actors unlike YFAS and Heirs. I heard LSG may be doing China Fanmeets soon, so that could be a result of this. Heirs is still ranking in QQ weekly which is incredible.

  8. One thing though, most of the dramas that aired after The Heirs benefited from it’s popularity. Korean drama on line enjoyed much higher viewership since Heirs and then the followup megahit of YFAS.

  9. The numbers are staggering. You see why Asian entertainment sets its sights on the Mainland market. The audience is so open and eager to watch.

    When people ask me why I watch those shows, I tell them I am with the majority of the world that does. It amazes me still that in their minds anything that isn’t in English, isn’t.

  10. awww Junki!! He deserves it, with all the hardwork and that dedication that he pours especially in Joseon gunman. Can’t wait for his next project.

    And we should just be glad that all these Kdramas are influencing other countries and making a name for themselves. Let’s spread the love for Kdramas, and just be happy for their success.. 🙂

  11. Lee Joon Gi, the king of fusion sageuk, is a talent worth celebrating! you go, boy!
    He’s a notable versatile actor, an impeccable action star (a daredevil at that), a wonderful singer, a great dancer, a whole package!! Stealing the hearts of billions of fans across the world. This man is sinfully handsome and hot! *drooling* I hope he gets bigger projects and productions in the coming years both in Korea and International scene. A movie with J Chan? Oh yes please. Too bad Joseon Gunman did not get heaps of awards just yet. will there be more award ceremonies before the year ends? Joon Gi should be acknowledged for his great acting here at least!! Let’s support Exhale guys!<33 He is undisputable one of the A-List actors we will never forget even if younger generations will dominate Hallyu already, he will still be incomparable and uniquely awesome!! Sincerely hoping for another great project, endorsements, movies, concerts, tours, albums and moreeeee next year!!!! JG is love!!! Yeah I'm a total fangirl but the hell I'm not alone tons of people all over the world just love the guy. <3

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