Streaming Sites and TV Stations Slash Budget and Actor's Pay Drop

Angelababy Wallace Chung General and I
Do you guys remember  when the Chinese government's State Administration for Radio and Television implemented a salary cap for actors last year?  Or the rumors revolving around General and I paying exorbitant salaries the year before that? Reports like this have been going around for a long time. 

After more than two months into the regulation to cap salaries,  it seems that actors' salaries have dropped considerably. According to insiders in the showbiz industry, the era of 100 million yuan paychecks are now a thing of the past.  Aside from government policy, another reason for the lowered pay seems to be the return or rationality to the market.  This new trend will give producers a chance to save some money, instead of paying A-list actors.  This will also give other skilled but more budget friendly actors a chance to be cast in films and dramas.  I mean, if you could get a cheaper but equally talented replacement for an A-list actress, that's good news for the pocket, right?  

Xie Xiaohu, a film producer, says that the current pay for actors and guest appearances in film, TV dramas and variety shows has bordered on 50 million yuan and the time of actor salaries reaching 100 million yuan are over.  He adds that most actor salaries have fallen below the 50 million yuan "red line."  

According to talent manager Liu Xiaoyan, the actor's salary reduction is aimed at actors, actresses, singers and talents that have received enormous paychecks.  The impact isn't felt so much by actors who have a lower pay grade since their salaries are the most ideal numbers in the industry.  In short, cheaper is better, I guess. 

With regards to production budget, the most probable cause for the budget decline is the government's policy.  Streaming sites and TV stations have returned to becoming more rational when buying dramas to air.  They have also ironed out areas where overpricing can be done.  

In the past, streaming sites like Youku or iQIYI would buy the rights to a drama they want to air if it had an A-list star in it.  This led to a bloated budget.  Now that actor salaries are regulated and some drama topics aren't considered to be "hot" or popular, the streaming site or TV station will then ask for a reduction of the said actor's salary.  This leads to a smaller drama budget, in turn.

Overall, the reduction of actor salaries and drama budgets might be a good thing considering that the huge amount of money spent on production before can now go into the next drama or film they want to make. So far, though, producers don't seem to be complaining about it.

Source:  1


  1. Dang, that’s a huge change in paycheck for the actors. 100M Yuan converted to USD is around $14M but 50M yuan becomes half of that, $7M+. It’s great for the production team for sure as they can pay for more for better quality dramas and exposure. As for the actors, maybe not so much. Hope everything balance out and both sides are content with the changes.

    1. Like I said, it'd now make the pay more even between less known but talented actors/actresses vs the A list celebrities. It's absurd that an A List ones would get paid tens of millions of USD just for their name and popularity but the actual talented ones are struggling to even get a job because they don't have as many weibo followers.

      Idolising celebrities must die, the only way for Chinese film industry to become as good as hollywood is to cast people with actual talent.

    2. That's don't need to act. You need to get those followers and those fans. Use other means to get their attention. You might even want to pay to get fake followers, you pay a little but earns double or triple back

  2. I do hope the money goes into better writers and set design, etc. But knowing how greedy these production companies are, I doubt they will use it to actually improve drama quality. They will just be happy that they can get away with paying less to big celebs.
    While there is a weak acting pool for a lot of popular celebs, a lot of other factors are also pretty weak. First, writing. The issue with most dramas is just poor writing. Some of it, it is not writers' fault but most of the time we just have weak screenplays that are done too fast. Then the big problem of producers trying to push certain artists and forcing writers to alter the story to promote whichever celeb production wants to push.

  3. 100 Million Yuan for a series? Seriously? Even 50 Million sounds still pretty much regarding how limited the skilly of many A-listers are. For that price they at least they should improve their language skills so that dubbing isn't needed anymore and people can hear their real voices. Hopefully the professional voice actors get a bigger part from the cake now since they doing at least half of the job.

    1. I do love the voice actors. I cannot underestimate them, with a beautiful voice they can turn a not so good looking actor into a pretty person. They also do 90% acting, especially when some actress don't want to cry ugly, the beautiful voice did all the acting for them. They deserve as much pay as the actors.

      With real voices, telling yah some actors have bad voices. Or, sometimes the voice just don't match. Example, Zhou Xun's real voice is good when she play strong headed women. But when she played Huang Rong I had a hard time with it. If producers go cheap, and no more voice dubbing when real voices are bad...we get bad voices, bad storylines, bad acting, bad everyting. All we'll see is A-listers and the fans.