South Korean TV drama 'Descendants of the Sun' has boosted the number of paying viewers in China, who are accustomed to watch free shows on their phones and tablets. The drama is now airing on China's online video platform iQiyi, and audiences are now paying for VIP packages to get priority viewing of the latest episodes.
iQiyi's intellectual property right manager said there had been over 1.2 billion views of the series since it premiered on February 24th.
The exact increase in subions is not yet available until the drama concludes at the middle of April, but iQiyi estimates that at least 3 million new VIP users have signed up to watch. With annual membership priced at 198 yuan, or 30 US dollars, this could representmore than half a billion yuan in revenue.
The plot is set in a war-torn country, and the drama features a love story between a UN peacekeeping troop's captain and a volunteer doctor.
BBC reports that the drama at home has been breaking viewership records and even received praises from President Park Geun-hye, as it helps "spread South Korean culture and boost tourism."