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Netizens Believe Netflix Fumbled The Bag And Is Trying To Capitalize Off The Success Of A Popular K-Drama

Netflix is known to be the international distributor for some of the hottest and most highly rated K-Dramas, such as Crash Landing on You and Queen of Tears, which hold the records for tvN‘s highest-rated shows.

“Crash Landing on You” poster
“Queen of Tears” poster

Now, another K-Drama has been pulling in the masses worldwide with its charming cast and intriguing storyline, and that is tvN’s Lovely Runner (also known as Run Away With Sun-Jae On Piggyback). This romantic-comedy time-slip show is adapted from the webcomic Tomorrow’s Best by True Beauty screenwriter Lee Si Eun. Actors Byeon Woo Seok and Kim Hye Yoon star as Ryu Sun Jae and Im Sol, respectively.

Ryu Seon-Jae (Byeon Woo-Seok) is a top star who has been in the spotlight since his debut. His life seems perfect, but being in the entertainment industry has completely worn him out. Meanwhile, Lim Sol (Kim Hye-Yoon) loves Ryu Seon-Jae as an adoring fan. When she was little, she had an accident. Due to that, she gave up on her dream, but listening to Ryu Seon-Jae’s song on the radio gave her comfort and she became his fan since then. One day, Lim Sol hears breaking news that Ryu Seon-Jae has ended his own life. She feels deep sadness over the tragic news. Miraculously, Lim Sol somehow travels back in time to 15 years in the past. There, she faces Ryu Seon-Jae, who is a 19 year old high school student. She struggles to prevent his tragic future.

— AsianWiki

Kim Hye Yoon (left) and Byeon Woo Seok (right)

Its international distributor, streaming platform Rakuten Viki, reported that Lovely Runner had ranked No. 1 in its viewership in 130 regions with its sixth week of broadcasting. It achieved this feat for six weeks in a row with 109 countries! This includes the U.S., the United Kingdom, Mexico, Canada, Brazil, France, etc. According to a Viki representative, “Lovely Runner is breaking its own record every week in the number of weekly viewers in North America, and it is recording the highest number of weekly viewers among 2024 dramas.”

According to Nielsen Korea, Lovely Runner initially had a 3 percent viewership rating with its premiere but reached 4.8 percent by its 14th episode. This is modest compared to Queen of Tears, which logged an average viewership rating of 28.4 percent. Still, this is based on South Korea. Lovely Runner is proving to be a viral hit, especially internationally, so much so Netflix has taken notice.

Tving reported a remarkable 94 percent real-time viewing share among all live channels during the same time slot.

Although the drama’s ratings have plateaued as it nears its conclusion, ‘Lovely Runner’ remains strong in all four key areas of ‘buzz’: the news, voice of netizens, video and social media.

Its popularity extends beyond Korea, topping the weekly viewing charts on Viu, an Asian regional streaming service, in Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia for the first week of May, from April 29 to May 5.

— The Korea Times

As Lovely Runner airs, Netflix’s social media accounts have been sharing more posts featuring actors Byeon Woo Seok and Kim Hye Yoon. Netflix included clips from the actors’ various K-Dramas, for which they have distribution rights.

The comment section for the posts is filled with netizens calling out Netflix for not picking up Lovely Runner when it had the chance. Some are also suggesting Netflix buy Lovely Runner and/or cast the leads in a new project together.

Even Rakuten Viki chimed in. Viki’s social media manager replied to a comment on Netflix’s post featuring Byeon Woo Seok.

It didn’t end there. Netizens have been teasing Netflix on X (formerly Twitter), too. Everyone believes Netflix regrets not picking up Lovely Runner and is now attempting to capitalize on its success while not having the rights to it. According to netizens, Netflix “fumbled the bag.” 

While most believe Netflix is the best platform for a K-Drama to be distributed on to garner international viewership success, Lovely Runner proves it’s not always the case. Lovely Runner doesn’t need Netflix. Clearly, Netflix needed Lovely Runner. 

It was previously reported that the production of Lovely Runner was delayed three years. While it’s currently a successful K-Drama, not everyone believed in the project at the time. In fact, many actors rejected the role of Ryu Sun Jae, although he’s such a well-loved character now.

Read more below.

Byeon Woo Seok Confesses He Cried While Reading The “Lovely Runner” Script

Source: SportsSeoul and The Korea Times

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