tvN loses 2 million viewers with return of Song Joong-ki’s ‘Arthdal Chronicles’

The third and last part of Song Joong-ki’s Arthdal Chronicles premiered Saturday night and achieved a 6.1 percent nationwide TV rating. While this figure is still indicative of an above-average viewership performance for a cable drama, it is way smaller than the 12.0 percent recorded by the final episode of Yeo Jin-goo and IU’s Hotel del Luna last week.

tvN, the broadcaster of both dramas, saw a 5.9 percentage points decrease in its prime time drama rating on September 7 (versus the same time slot on August 31). In terms of the number of viewers, Arthdal Chronicles‘ 13th episode recorded an estimated 1.7 million people nationwide, which is 2 million viewers less than the 3.7 million people who tuned in to watch Hotel del Luna‘s 16th and final episode.

The significant difference in the TV viewership performance between the two series proves that Hotel del Luna is more popular than Arthdal Chronicles among the Korean audience. The two million viewers that tvN lost during the said time slot last night either watched another TV program or did not watch TV at all. Either way, it seemed like they did not bother to check out the continuation of Arthdal Chronicles, which aired its first 12 episodes from June 1 to July 7.

The drop in viewers can be attributed to those who watched Hotel del Luna but never had the chance to follow the first two parts of Arthdal Chronicles. These people have no reason to watch part 3 when they do not even know the events in the previous episodes. However, Arthdal Chronicles‘ ratings are still impressive per se, making it one of the 20 highest-rated Korean dramas of all time. Its 6.6 percent nationwide rating is better than the benchmark for the average ratings of cable dramas from 2016 to 2018, which stand between 2 and 4 percent. Besides, the series became the most watched cable TV program on September 7.

Benchmark for Average Ratings of K-dramas

Arthdal Chronicles and Hotel del Luna boast of popular lead actors and writers who had worked on at least one hit drama in the past. Song Joong-ki rose to stardom after starring in the 2016 romantic melodrama Descendants Of The Sun while IU and Yeo Jin-goo were relatively fresh off the success of My Mister (2018) and The Crowned Clown (2019), respectively. Interestingly, Arthdal Chronicles was directed by the same PD who produced My Mister.

Arthdal Chronicles is penned by the writers of Six Flying Dragons (2015-2016), Tree With Deep Roots (2011), and Jewel In The Palace (2003). On the other hand, Hotel del Luna comes from the Hong sisters, who wrote A Korean Odyssey (2017-2018), Master’s Sun (2013), and My Girlfriend Is A Gumiho (2010).

Arthdal Chronicles Poster (Part 3)

The six-episode Arthdal Chronicles Part 3 is broadcast on tvN every Saturday and Sunday until September 22. The ancient historical drama can also be streamed online on Netflix.

September 15 Update: Song Joong-ki’s ‘Arthdal Chronicles’ records lowest TV rating to date

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Samfann is a writer and editor for Kdramapal. He works closely with other writers to produce and publish online content. At the age of 21, he founded a Korean entertainment blog that went on to become a major player in the industry. He spends most of his free time watching American and Korean TV series and doing volunteer work for an online initiative that provides underserved students with grants and scholarships. He's also passionate about unique and revolutionary ideas that make the world a better place.