‘Lovely Runner’ stirs debates over TV ratings with just 2 episodes left

With only two episodes remaining, tvN’s “Lovely Runner” is wrapping up its run with massive popularity across Asia and beyond. Despite mixed TV ratings, the drama has sparked industry-wide debates on the relevance of traditional viewership metrics.

Lovely Runner” has not only taken over the drama scene but also made waves in the music industry. According to Good Data Corporation’s FUNdex, it has been the most talked-about TV-OTT drama for three weeks straight in May.

Stars Byeon Woo Seok and Kim Hye Yoon have also been topping the performer buzz rankings for three consecutive weeks. The drama has dominated the 20-49 age group in tvN’s target demographic, holding the top spot across all channels, including terrestrial TV, for seven weeks in a row. It’s also the highest-rated weekday drama among women in their 20s this year.

In music, “Lovely Runner” is making a splash. As of May 24, its OST tracks are climbing the charts on Melon, with “Showers” at fifth place, “It Must Have Been” at 41st, “Spring Snow” at 60th, “Run Run” at 79th, and “Like a Dream” at 96th. “Showers” is particularly popular, ranking high on multiple charts like Melon HOT100, Genie TOP200, and Bugs real-time chart.

Globally, “Lovely Runner” is a hit. According to Rakuten Viki, it has been the number one show in 130 countries for six weeks straight, including major markets like the US, Canada, the UK, France, Brazil, and Mexico. It’s consistently breaking viewership records in North America and is the top 2024 title there.

In Japan, it leads in drama and Korean Wave viewership on U-NEXT, and it’s second in overall content viewership.

In Taiwan, it’s top of the iQIYI drama rankings with a near-perfect score of 9.9 out of 10. On Asia’s Viu platform, it’s first in Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, and Hong Kong, and second in Thailand and the Philippines. It also boasts a 9.1 rating on IMDb, showcasing its global appeal.

Despite its widespread popularity, “Lovely Runner” hasn’t achieved sky-high TV ratings. It started at 3.1% and peaked at 4.8%, which is modest compared to tvN’s previous hit “Queen of Tears,” which ended with 24.9%. This discrepancy has fueled debates among industry insiders about what truly defines a hit.

Lovely Runner” proves that traditional TV ratings aren’t the only measure of success. The drama’s buzz and popularity highlight the need for a broader perspective when evaluating the success of TV shows.

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