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Strike looms for ten MBC, SBS dramas

As previously mentioned, the three major broadcasting companies (KBS, MBC, SBS) have been faced with a possibility of strike that would put some of their current dramas, all of whom are outsourced to outside production companies, on temporary hiatus. The issue at stake is unpaid wages to employees who are represented by the Korean Broadcasting, Film, and Performing Arts Labor Union.

Until the outstanding sum of more than 4 billion won is repaid, the union has taken the stance that they will refuse to allow their members continued participation in those productions. Representatives from the union gave a press conference on September 1, which was the deadline that the broadcasters were scrambling to meet in order to keep their affected dramas filming.

The union stated at the press conference, “The broadcasting company is at fault when outside production companies cannot adequately pay their actors and crew. The broadcasters can no longer air programs for free.”

The problem pointed out by the union is that there is an imbalance created with the system of using outside production companies. The broadcasters foot some of the production budget and make money off advertisers (and here’s where ratings are important, because the higher the ratings of a drama, the more ads they sell and at higher prices). However, they put undue pressure on the outside production companies when they pay, for example, only 50% to 60% of the actual cost to actually produce a miniseries. The union stated that the broadcast stations need to increase the production budgets they pay.

KBS was the first to settle matters by providing payment guarantees according to the rules stipulated, and therefore their shows will continue as normal. (They barely made it, coming to an agreement just three minutes before the press conference was called to announce the union’s decision.) That means that their heavy hitter, Baker King Kim Tak-gu, can continue to dominate in its Wednesday-Thursday timeslot without interruption. The other KBS shows involved were Monday-Tuesday’s Sungkyunkwan Scandal and the weekend show Marry Me, neither of which should be affected.

On the other hand, MBC and SBS still have ten dramas affected while the stations continue negotiations. MBC has four currently airing dramas on the line: Dong Yi, Gloria, Kim Suro, and Playful Kiss. SBS has six: Giant, Neighbor Enemies, My Girlfriend Is a Gumiho, I Am Legend, I Don’t Know Women, and Life Is Beautiful.


Life Is Beautiful, Playful Kiss

In the case of SBS’s Life Is Beautiful, which is produced by the same company as KBS’s Baker King Kim Tak-gu, the drama has settled its outstanding payment issue through the end of July, but because the broadcaster is different from Tak-gu, they are still at risk while Tak-gu is clear. (It appears that the union is taking an all-or-nothing stance per broadcaster.)

The union’s refusal to participate in filming will end as soon as MBC and SBS are able to negotiate a settlement.

What, ultimately, do they want? Aside from “settling” the outstanding wages, the union wants the broadcasters to provide a way of fundamentally preventing such lapses in the future. That means they’ll have to produce more than an IOU to get off the hook (as well they should).

So what does this mean for the dramas? Effective now and until the issue is solved, the affected productions will be denied union participation in filming. (Note: Filming, not airing. Of course, those two go hand in hand, but the difference means some shows can continue to air for a while.) Dramas that have a few episodes shot in advance will be able to air for a few weeks before falling behind. Example: Playful Kiss has five episodes filmed and doesn’t expect to be much affected. However, it’s likely that some will have to go off the air for a short time until the matter is fully resolved. My Girlfriend Is a Gumiho, for instance, is already filming in live-shoot, which means they’re filming the week’s episodes in the week leading up to broadcast. They have less buffer.

(This is serious business so I don’t mean to diminish it, but ultimately I’m not freaking out about this. I doubt it’ll get to that point and honestly, it seems the broadcasters will be doing everything possible to get in the clear, because wasted airtime is just more wasted money.)

Via Chosun Ilbo, Star News, OSEN

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Please do not stop our favourite MGIAG! Mi Ho ah! *wails*

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if MGIaG goes off air will you be recapping PK first?

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I realy hope they will reach a mutual decision soon. :(

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same here

some great dramas going off air
but workers rights should come first so i understand

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Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.... I hope they resolve this quickly so we can get our weekly fix of IAL and MGIAG.

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Oh yeah, I hope so! (nods & crossing my fingers)

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Hmm this reminds me of the insane writer's strike we had here in Los Angeles two years.

It was crazy and I was very heartbroken that some of my favorite shows were shorten and some storyline even had to suffer.

Hopefully they sort it out much faster than Hollywood did because that one just went one for too long. I'll start panicking when MGiaG stops.

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Nooo! Not MGIAG please!

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i hope they will clear this up fast.. and i mean real fast. I want MGiaG!!!

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I am sincerely hoping that Dong Yi will not be affected. Waiting just one week for the show at the stage it is now kills me. It's getting so much more interesting with the new arc.

I hope this all gets resolved fairly. Broadcasting companies need to start taking more responsibility and stop profiting unfairly.

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OMG, NOOOOOOO! SBS better settle things fast to ensure that My Girlfriend Is a Gumiho won't get affected!

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MGiaG T_T. I hope things get settled with SBS soon.

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I hope & pray they settle this dispute the soonest possible time!! Not just because our fave dramas are on the line..but so that the actors, crew & production people get paid what's due them..but more so that their work's "quality" isn't compromised!!!

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I hope the strike will end with a good issue. when u are woring hard you are expecting to be paid.

thats why actors and actresses prefer to play in movies rather than in dramas like my Won Bin.

cross fingers for everyone concern in that strike and good luck cos strike means no wages for them so how will they lives?

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This is one situation where money does talk, iamgine the money lost to the Network if a rising show like MGIG goes off the air for even a week, it losses momentum and hense a lot of sponsorhsip dollars.

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I knew KBS wouldn't let Baker King get off the air.

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Oh YEEEAAA!

SCORE!!!! =) =)

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Hm, for reason I'm not that concerned either.

I just feel like MONEY is such a huge motivator that the companies can't afford not to make a decision quickly.

And that means I'll be able to focus on school knowing that filming has stopped. ^^

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Lucky! Baker King will air as usual.

Please not Dong Yi and Playful Kiss.

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I KNOOWWWW! (I feel you, of course!)

PLEASE DON'T DO THAT FOR PLAYFUL KISS AND MY GIRLFRIEND GUMIHO, okay!

IF you DO --- it made us sooo doomed!!!! (sad pouts)

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the use of the gloomy looking miho intentional? ;)

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LOL!

Hope that MGIAG won't get affected!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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As much as i hate to see my shows get interrupted but i guess workers should be pay on time. So i will wait.

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SBS PAY UP YOU CAN'T DENY ME MY MGIAG ADDICTION

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Getting paid only 50-60% of the wages you earn is not acceptable! I wonder how long this went on before they went enough is enough!

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WTF, SBS?
Oh well, like everyone else, I just hope this doesn't actually happen and that everything is resolved in due time.

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Just look at how fast KBS tend to solved this problem, just coz they have no.1 show in korea in hand, if not i dont think they will settle it as fast as like now,..

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What's shocking is that people are still unpaid for dramas which aired in 2009...

I think ££$$ talks and sooner, rather than later, will see MBC and SBS come to an agreement with the union.

What exactly is going to replace the dramas when they go off-air - reruns presumably or some gameshows? Those are hardly going to bring in the ad revenues are they?

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hmm, the people who worked hard in bringing us all the dramas SHOULD be paid. it's one think if it was a volunteer work, but these people are probably responsible for a lot of things (food on the table, money for kids education, etc.) so they definitely MUST be paid.

i feel bad for supporting actors too because apparently a lot of them haven't been paid from work they've done since last year.

tsk tsk tsk broadcasting networks.

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Oh, aww...........How sad! =/

That must be tough, oh jeez.

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Hey

I have been a fan of your website since forever. I am from India and love watching Korean dramas, and I watched Que Sera Sera on your recommendation.
Needless to say this, but it's great. Except that it haunts me:
There's this scene in Episode 17 where Eric is chasing Eun Soo after finally seeing her so many years. What is that background music in that scene? It played before in episode 17 when Eric is running towards Eun Soo near the elevator to tell her 'let's run away'.
It also plays in the opening scene of episode 16 when Eric drops his glass on hearing that Eun Soo is expecting/ or when Joon Hyuk asks Eun Soo whose child she's carrying.

Please, please tell me where I can get that music. I'm growing quite desperate for it. :(

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wow, only 50-60%? i also wonder when they came to the point where they had enough. although they worked so hard, they got so little out of it. MBC and SBS better straighten up quick and settle things with the strikers!

until then, if MGIAG doesnt air i'll just sit back and watch reruns!! or actually be productive....

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ahh noooo! I need my kdrama fix~ le sigh..specially with the start of the school year!

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I completely understand. I took will go on strike. These people need to get paid before we get our dose of enjoyment. They have families they need to care for too. I really hope this gets settled soon, for the benefit of not us viewers, but for these workers.

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PLEASE DON'T TAKE MGIAG AWAY FROM ME!

That said...MBC AND SBS COUGH UP YOUR DOUGH(S)! I hate not getting paid when I'm doing decent work. Actually, I hate paying for things in advance even when I know I'm going to be reimbursed for it later. It's just...bad economic karma, seriously. People have cashflow issues too, okay folks?

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Yep, just pay up. People have got families to feed you know?

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Oh, no! All my Monday-Tuesday dramas are affected! :(
Hopefully, there's a compromise soon that will satisfy both parties.

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Misleading. They're not prohibiting anyone to film, the members of such union (which does involve a lot of actors, but all mostly in bit roles up to supporting ones), if they decide to adhere, will simply refuse to shoot - but if they don't at least show up to work, that'll be considered an illegal strike. Same happened last year with MBC's union and Yi San: MBC played hard ball, and basically the union had to walk back in, tail between its legs. Participation was very low, simply because people don't want to bite the hand that feeds them. Even if it doesn't actually feed them all that much.

One broadcaster has threatened to remove any adherent from the script and shoot with whomever is left (SBS, supposedly), and frankly anyone with a significant role in a high rated drama is never goi [Read more]

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that should be "should look bad."

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I'm not sure what's so misleading about it. The members of the union are refusing to participate, and many if not most participants belong to the union. Ergo, you can't film a drama when your cast/crew isn't allowed to film. You can try to hire scabs, but not with cast.

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"So what does this mean for the dramas? Effective now and until the issue is solved, the affected productions will be prevented from filming. (Note: Filming, not airing. Of course, those two go hand in hand, but the difference means some shows can continue to air for a while.) "

This, for instance. The union has no authority other than over their own members, nobody is preventing anyone from filming anything, and neither can they. But then again, nothing states all union members should or will participate in the strike, and as I stated, these strikes' participation rates are always pretty low in the grand scheme of things (so you might get hundreds of participants, but only a few dozen of them will have roles significant enough to upset a production). To make a quick comparison, Maeng S [Read more]

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The publicity is pretty valuable leverage, I would think.

You missed the part where I said this is not likely going to have much of an effect on the productions, and I'm pretty sure the stations will settle rather quickly to get off the shit list -- if not for real stakes then for their image.

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You still are missing the point. It's not going to affect them because many shows have a buffer of footage to rest on, and this whole fiasco is certainly not to drag on for much longer than a few days to a week, certainly. Broadcasters don't want to be painted as the bad guy, obviously.

What is missing the point is the assumption on your part that the union could realistically impede a production in any realistic way, as stated in the quote I gave you. They don't have any authority to do that whatsoever. Broadcasters would either write it off and focus on less characters, cutting participants in the strike out of the script (like a broadcaster threatened), or make last-minute detours to cover up the problem. The union has no authority over shoot proceedings, they can only state that "my [Read more]

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Seriously, I think you're missing my point. Who said this is going to affect the average housewife or viewer? I'm simply putting up information and people can take it as they wish. I stand by the facts stated here. (Since they pretty much come directly translated from the Korean source articles.)

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Except they're not facts. They're assumptions drawn from poor party-line articles that show little insight to begin with (noticed that most of them have similar structure? I hope you're familiar with the concept of 언플). One needs to interpret what he reads and think about the credibility such pieces have before he throws claims out there, otherwise there's no point. All those hit-friendly 촬영거부 articles pontificate on worst-case-scenarios that have very little chance of happening, and all the big charade that's been going on involves saving face more than any last-minute emergency to save a shoot - here's the big secret: there is none. Anyone familiar with the industry should know that the broadcasters are the master and commander here, they have all the leverage, and legally th [Read more]

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I'm familiar with 언론 플레이, thanks. I think it's pretty clear they're worst-case scenarios, and that there is always a chance those won't come into play. And I said as much. I feel it's worth mentioning, however, even as a worst-case scenario.

The union has the power to affect a production. You're arguing nuance of how MUCH effect. I don't deny that there's a range involved.

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"Effective now and until the issue is solved, the affected productions will be PREVENTED FROM FILMING. "

Emphasis mine. Just objected to that. That's not fact, it's science fiction and faulty interpretation. 촬영거부는 denial TO shoot이지, prevention FROM shooting가 아닙니다. No union can ever prevent any broadcaster or outsourced production company from filming.

But yeah, we're arguing semantics, so I rest my case.

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Okay, I edited that sentence. We’re done now, right? Phew! I’ve got shows to watch and recap!

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There is absolutely no excuse for these people not being paid. These people are doing their jobs. They deserve to be compensated in a timely manner.

Just because this union represents the little guys doesn't mean that they should be looked down upon. In the real world most of the work is done by the little guys.

I say that the union should use all the leverage that it can muster. Because what is a union anyway? It's a bunch of working people who have banded together to improve their condition. It's not a bunch of fat cat "top brass" smoking cigars in a backroom somewhere coming up with ways to screw the big companies.

The odds are this will all be settled soon. It's a big financial hit to everyone involved if it isn't. Lets hope so anyway.

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agreed! there's no excuse for not paying those people. Despite my desire for a drama fix, I'm glad they're going with a strike and I'm sure they'll desire it soon. I'm no expert, but somehow I feel that the TV industry in Korea is like the movie industry in India or the manga industry in Japan. Big stuff that won't let a strike ruin the industry.

Am I right in that?

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NNNOOOOOOO!!!!
No no no nooo, It's NOT for "Playful Kiss" and "My Girlfriend Gumiho", pleeaaasseee! (holding my hands)

Oh aigoo, I never thought this is becoming so worse and worse -- it's very horrible, how bummed. =/

_________________________________________
** Oh, thank goodness for my top best drama "Baker King" is on airing, that's goood, good! =) **

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NOOOO!!! (shook my head) No No No, please don't do that for "My Girlfriend Gumiho", no way, that can't be!
(holding my hands)

Oh, aigoo! THIS is becoming so worse & bad! How bummed. =/

(Ah, thank goodness for my top best drama "Baker King" keep airing -- Good Good!) =)

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I hope this will get solve soon but I AM SO HAPPY THAT SCANDAL IS NOT AFFECTED! I am totally addicted to this new drama ^^

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i hope dong yi's not affected since its ratings have been falling recently... as for the rest of the dramas, even if they halt i think they'll have enough momentum to keep their ratings at least the same.

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ugh i h8 stirkes...but its okz..they are for a good thing ..right?
but missng out on show...nooo...but oh well..hopefulli everything will be resolved by than :D
-sadie

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THIS BITES!

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@"Nope": wow...no comment...if you don't like the way JB writes her articles, then don't read them...

and damn. -__-" i mean i know they're going to resolve this because shit, korean public'll go nuts if they carry on with this...but that's just going to make everything harder for the actors later on when they'll have to films for hours on in to make up for missed time :( especially the super competitive ones like dongyi and giant. :.sigh.:

but i'm glad takgoo didn't get affected lol that's the only happy part in this whole story...

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I know most of us [maybe not all of us] including myself will be sad if our favourites dramas are not broadcasted as promised, but I hope everyone please stay clam and be patience and be more sensitive to the issue right now.

I'm sure nobody want this to happen but sometimes things just dont go as planned. Neither do the broadcasting stations nor the union would want to disappoint us but sometimes it cannot be avoided.

So let us pray and be patience and be understanding by doing them a favour.

MY favourite drama is Gumiho... very refreshing, comical in their own way and of course the young "couple " played by Seung gi and shin mina.

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JB, I wanted to thank you for putting up this news in the first place since we (as in the non-korean interwebz world) get almost none background info on the economics and machinations of the entertainment industry in korea... which is REALLY strange because people are going nuts over The Hallyu Wave.01 & 02 for many years now but almost no one wants to know how it works, the who's who of the "Big Brass" there or the business aspects and effects in making so much noise all over asia. And none of the popular english speaking sites dealing with korean entertainment products put out any info/research in this respect regularly.

It's fascinating that people seem to love and follow the trends and shows the korean market delivers and imo a lot of them want to be just entertained, thankyouv [Read more]

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where's the edit button, so many mistakes, sorry /flail

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I'm having flash backs to the writer's strike in the US. That was disastrous if you weren't an established reality tv show, or a soap opera (which films at least 3 months in advance).

This sounds like if it got that far it could be even worse since this seems like general everyone is in the same union. I hope it doesn't come to that though.

On a shallow note though, I'm glad Sungkyunkwan Scandal won't be affected. It's my new crack. ^_^

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I hope this gets resolved quickly. I only just recently discovered how much I enjoy these shows. For that reason I can honor and respect the decision of those in need to do what is necessary to get the funds owed them for their honest labor. Without the funds necessary to pay the artists who have invested their time, talent, and imagination to creating these shows we love so much then they would all come to a screeching halt.

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thank you for explaining the situation :)

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