Chinese palace drama starring Zhou Xun sells online rights for record S$1.95 million per episode

BEIJING - An upcoming Chinese palace drama starring Zhou Xun as consort Zhen Huan's daughter-in-law has sold its online broadcast rights for a record price of 9 million yuan (S$1.95 million) an episode, says NetEase website.

Ruyi's Royal Love In The Palace is a sequel to Empresses In The Palace, the 2012 show starring Sun Li as Zhen that was a hit in China, Taiwan and Japan. Zheng Xiaolong, the director of Empresses, is not involved in the production of Ruyi, however.

A video website is said to have paid 810 million yuan for the 90-episode Ruyi, but New Media Classics, which is distributing the show, declines to confirm the deal, reports NetEase.

Prices of online rights have skyrocketed since the 2013 K-drama My Love From The Star was shown on Chinese websites including iQiyi. The websites paid about 200,000 yuan an episode then for a show that had more than 2 billion views.

Ruyi, like Empresses, is adapted from a Liu Lianzi novel. The shoot will start in August and the show will likely premiere next year.