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Estimated $10 million, multi-entertainer Lee Seunggi


This is why CFs are such a SUPER BIG DEAL in Korea!  The breakdown speaks for itself!  CFs vs. Variety vs. Drama/Music.  And I triple-checked my KRW (Korean Won) to USD (United States Dollar) currency exchange, but~ $60,000 for 1 Night 2 Days AND Strong Heart?!  That’s just ridiculous and insulting.  Sure popularity on 1N2D gave them (Seunggi, and more recently Taewoong) entree into the highly coveted and lucrative CF world.  But still!  Totally sacrificing their bodies every other weekend on the nation’s variety show and to get paid so little?!  I SO hope TVN made a mistake in the numbers, because if not, I’m totally feeling for all the members, even if variety programs are typically a way for entertainers to promote their own music and stuff…

Workload-to-pay ratio in Korean entertainment is terrible.  Especially considering the unrealistic work ethic so deeply embedded in Korean culture as a whole.  Worldstar Rain said he was totally shocked when he was filming an American movie, like he couldn’t believe people weren’t working to death!  The whole crazy Kdrama schedules and expectations for actors are just unreal!  More actors have been vocal about this, so hope this gets reformed.   And the rumored horrible working conditions and contracts for Kpop idols is pretty well documented, so I’m really feeling for all those hardworking girls and guys!  Come on K-entertainment, let’s do better!

Seunggi is notorious for being a workaholic, so I’m just glad he’s banking it!  And that he’s working solo, and not in a boyband!  Because he SO deserves it!  Which is one one of the reasons why Koreans (often quick to be jealous by others’ success!) don’t dislike Seunggi for his success.  That is, not yet…

Korean celebs pretty much rule the CF world in Korea.  And it’s hard to get respect if you’re known mostly as a ‘CF King’ or ‘CF Queen’ while being far less acknowledged for your craft (singing, acting, variety).  So, it’s great that Seunggi’s been so active and worked so hard on all fronts!  Aw, I’m so proud to be a fan!

Recently, news about Seunggi’s total earnings was a hot topic, stemming from earlier news about his estimated $7.5 million (USD) CF earnings and favorability rank.

[TVN News, Aug. 25, 2011]  Here’s the basic gist~

Seunggi has maintained top favorability rank within the ever-competitive CF (advertising) industry for over 2 years, and last month had the #1 favorable rating (10.43%) that was able to fend off the ever-popular #2 Jo Insung (6.36%), as well as #3 Won Bin (5.67%) and #4 Hyun Bin (4.11%).

While the effect of models such as Jo Insung, Won Bin, and Hyun Bin are especially powerful among the target audience of women in their 20s and 30s, Seunggi’s sustained favorable and powerful advertising effect is attributed to the great love he receives from people of all ages in Korea.  Plus his scandal-free, clean-cut image has brought about endless CF lovecalls. 

However, it doesn’t end with just CFs for Seunggi.  He is also a regular MC for KBS ‘1 Night 2 Days’ and SBS ‘Strong Heart.’  And then you factor in his dramas and music earnings.  And altogether, this totals an estimated annual earning of $9.9 million (USD).

Although ‘1 Night 2 Days’ is an important part in all this, his activities as an MC and in a new drama is expected to be significant next year too.  It was said that he wanted to be active for about 2-3 years and then enlist in the military.  However, as he is getting a lot of attention for variety and drama, insiders wonder if he will continue just a little longer beyond that.

English:  LSGfan,  Video:  Leeseungiworld

(Images: LSGfan)

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2 Responses

  1. Dear Ann,
    So happy to read this post highlighting something that’s been bothering me for a long time now: the atrocious pays entertainers are getting for their nerve-breaking (and back-breaking) hard work in Korea broadcasting. Even if the fees for TV variety/talk shows are kept at the current ridiculous levels, it looks like it’s also a one-off, sold-off deal. Meaning you won’t see another dime even if the program is picked up by other countries or being rerun to death while generating new income. It’s so unfair, and disrespectful for the efforts entertainers put in.
    I also wonder how the drama thing works. I mean music albums have sales figures that you can count and distribute. Do they have bonus or royalty fees for dramas? While SG’s dramas are being broadcast (and re-broadcast) all over Asia, does he get any additional income?

  2. I was hoping I miscalculated, but I don’t think so! Sad. On top of that if you’re not working your ass off, it can often be viewed as laziness or irresponsibility, stuff Koreans hate! ha.

    I highly doubt actors/singers get any royalties. unless in the contract. And since the K-entertainment mark is (or was) pretty small, it’s like you’re just happy to have work!

    anyway, which is why you see a lot more K-actors setting up their own companies and bringing on actors/entertainers as clients. Has more of a fair pay model. ex, Jang Dong Gun (Shin Min Ah moved here), Lee Byung Hun (Han Hyo Joo moved here), and I think Go Hyun Jung is setting up shop too.

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