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Encounter: Song Hye-Kyo and Park Bo-Gum mid-series kiss results in mixed viewership domestically and internationally

Song Hye-Kyo and Park Bo-Gum
Song Hye-Kyo and Park Bo-Gum starring into each other’s eyes. Image Credit: Total Variety Network (tvN)

Encounter — also known as Boyfriend — currently airing on the Total Variety Network is currently one of the more popular K-dramas airing on Korean cable or pay television this season. Fans look forward to subsequent episodes hoping to see what happens next for the on-screen relationship of Song Hye-Kyo and Park Bo-Gum.

The K-drama recently aired its mid-series episodes and we finally get to see Song Hye-Kyo and Park Bo-Gum kiss. Fans have been anticipating this romantic moment between the two Hallyu stars that it has resulted in mixed viewership both domestically and internationally.

Starting with domestic viewership, according to TNmS Media Korea, the mid-series episode for Encounter garnered the lowest viewership rating for the nation so far at 7.7 percent.

A viewership rating for Seoul wasn’t even provided meaning it too was in the single digits since they usually only show them if they record double-digits.

On the other hand, AGB Nielsen Korea garnered a viewership spike for both Seoul and the nation. The former recorded 11.776 percent while the latter recorded 9.166 percent.

It should also be reported that both viewerships for Seoul and the nation mark an upturn for viewership too as they have been gradually decreasing since the second episode.

Internationally, Encounter has been doing very well specifically on Rakuten Viki. The series is currently the third most popular Korean show (since K-dramas are also bunched in with their variety shows) on the streaming platform.

Out of all Korean shows currently on-air, Encounter is the most popular. It is even more popular than The Last Empress. That fact is noteworthy for Encounter because The Last Empress is far more popular with Koreans even beating Encounter in viewership ratings in its same time slot.

A relationship that is worth the risk

Song Hye-Kyo and Park Bo-Gum have created a very interesting love story in which K-drama fans have tuned in every single week to see how it would progress. Brought together by fate, Cha Soo-Hyun (Hye-Kyo) and Kim Jin-Hyuk (Bo-Gum) start a relationship that seems destined to fall.

The former is the CEO of a popular hotel chain, and the latter was a drifter she met during a business trip to Cuba. Despite the differences they have especially in status, they long to be together.

The story is stereotypical of many previous K-dramas. However, the star power of Song Hye-Kyo (Descendants of the Sun) and Park Bo-Gum (Moonlight Drawn by Clouds) initially brought in viewers. The plot and direction are what’s keeping them interested.

It is especially smart of production to close the second episode of each week with some sort of plot cliff-hanger. In the first week (episode two), viewers found out Kim Jin-Hyuk would be working as an employee at the hotel Cha Soo-Hyun is CEO of.

In the second week (episode four), Jin-Hyuk reveals himself to be Soo-Hyun’s “friend” in front of many important hotel personnel. In the third week (episode six), Soo-Hyun publicly announces she has “some” relationship with Jin-Hyuk to the press. As for the latest second episode of the week (fourth week, episode eight), Soo-Hyun and Jin-Hyuk share their first kiss.

To see if Cha Soo-Hyun and Kim Jin-Hyuk’s relationship lasts, Encounter airs on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 9:30 p.m. KST on tvN. For international viewers especially in the Americas, it is available to view on Rakuten Viki. The first two episodes are free. Subsequent episodes are only available to Viki Pass Standard subscribers.


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