Famous actors lined up “Netflix’s ‘money bomb’ with appearance fee per episode of 1 billion won”

"The appearance fee per episode is 1 billion won?"

Netflix is detonating a money bomb. Leveraging massive funds, they are sweeping up famous actors and writers. Broadcasting stations are tasting the bitterness due to global OTTs like Netflix, Disney+, etc. They are being pushed into a difficult situation where it’s hard to produce dramas.

It has been reported that Netflix is considering a project starring Song Hye-kyo and Gong Yoo with a budget in the range of 80 billion won. It is a period drama set against the backdrop of the growth of the Korean show business in the 1980s, a work by popular writer Noh Hee-kyung after a hiatus of two years.

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It’s astounding with its enormous production scale and budget. They are pouring 3 billion won per episode, totaling 80 billion won, into a single project.

Netflix’s “Squid Game Season 2“, which is in its final stages of filming, is expected to usher in the era of the first K-drama with a production budget of 100 billion won. It’s said that the appearance fee for the lead actor Lee Jung-jae is 1 billion won per episode.

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Netflix is placing high expectations on Korean content like “Squid Game Season 2”. Netflix’s CEO Reed Hastings promised more investment in Korean content. He said, “We are continuously investing in Korea, and our journey with the best creative partners representing Korea has just begun.”

Netflix is expected to release around 26 Korean dramas and movies this year alone. Kim Go-eun’s “Two Women” as well as the drama “When Life Gives You Tangerines” starring IU and Park Bo-gum will also be released on Netflix. The budget for “When Life Gives You Tangerines” is reported to be around 60 billion won.

Disney+ will release “Uncle Samsik” on May 15th, investing its largest production budget since “Moving”. It’s the first OTT project for famous actor Song Kang-ho. Disney+ reportedly invested 40 billion won in “Uncle Samsik”.

Just a while ago, the average production budget per episode was 300~400 million won. With global OTT platforms like Netflix entering the Korean market, per-episode production budgets have reached 2 billion won.

The biggest portion of the production budget goes to actor appearance fees. With top Korean actors entering large-scale OTT platforms, their “ransom” has skyrocketed.

An industry insider said, “It’s now a reality for famous top actors to demand 1 billion won per episode for appearance fees.” It is said that due to high appearance fees and the ability to leave an impression on overseas viewers, famous actors are flocking to global OTT platforms like Netflix.


On the other hand, due to the explosion in production costs, many broadcasting stations have drastically reduced drama production. Most Wednesday-Thursday dramas have been temporarily suspended, and the scheduling of mini-series and even Monday-Tuesday dramas is being reduced. The number of dramas aired on domestic channels, which was about 141 in 2022, decreased by about 30~40% to 123 last year and about 100 this year.

Domestic OTT platforms like TVING and Wavve have also significantly reduced their investments in dramas. In particular, Wavve is rumored to have no dramas scheduled for release this year.

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