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FilMart: NEW’s TV Debut ‘Descendants’ Ripe For China

Contents Panda, the international sales arm of Next Entertainment World, is selling China and Japan rights to “Descendants of the Sun,” South Korea’s most-watched TV drama at Hong Kong FilMart.

Film major NEW’s debut TV production, “Descendants,” is the first Korean TV series to be simultaneously broadcasted in South Korea and China, on KBS and iQiyi, respectively. Starring top actors Song Joong-ki (“Werewolf Boy”) and Song Hye-kyo (“My Brilliant Life”), “Descendants” is a love story between an Army captain and a doctor who travel to an imaginary war-torn country called Uruk to save lives.

Fully pre-produced, “Descendants” was made with a total budget of $10.1 million (KRW 13 billion). China’s video streaming giant iQIYI is known to have paid $230,000 per episode for the series’ exclusive broadcast rights in China.

Each episode is aired to iQIYI’s paid viewers one hour after airing in Korea. The fifth and sixth episodes of “Descendants” garnered more than 400 million views on iQIYI.

“Some 400 million viewers have watched ‘Descendants’ and more are joining our paid membership programs to watch it,” said Zhang Yuxin, general manager of iQIYI’s copyright management center, in an interview.

In addition to “Descendants,” Contents Panda is giving Asian debuts to movie titles that include mystery thriller “Proof of Innocence”; animation director Yeon Sang-ho’s live-action feature debut “Train to Busan”; and revenge thriller “Missing You.”

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