Is BiliBili the Next YouTube?
There is a popular saying within China’s online community, that is, “If you really want to know your children, you start with Bilibili.” After more than ten years of development, Bilibili (or B-Site for short) has become one of the most popular video sharing platforms for young people in China.
The platform allows users to upload, view, and interact with a variety of media formats, from videos and live-streams, to games and e-commerce.
Unlike other major video platforms in China such as Tencent & Kuaishou, Bilibili focuses heavily on ACG - anime, comics, and games. ACG’s increased popularity amongst Gen Z has made it a growing part of today’s entertainment industry, and no doubt an essential part of the future entertainment industry.
Unsurprisingly, Bilibili’s considerably niche focus has garnered it an incredibly loyal and active fan base, with QuestMobile Research Institute naming Bilibili “Gen Z’s Preference App”.
However, Bilibili’s focus on ACG is just one of its many unique selling points. For instance, instead of relying on algorithms to push viral content (a technique utilised by other successful entertainment platforms such as TikTok), Bilibili relies on the power of its subculture communities to increase and maintain its user engagement.
Users share short films from Comic Books and Star Wars, so unlike YouTube, these videos have much more natural appeal to all users.
Bilibili is also the only major video sharing platform in China with strict registration requirements. To register as a creative member on the site, users are required to complete a questionnaire with 100 questions.
While this system may seem laborious, it has turned out to be hugely effective for the app because it allows Bilibili to maintain an exclusivity that guarantees only the highest quality content from the most dedicated of creators.
In another effort to incentivize creators to generate high quality content, Bilibili provides creators with a very competitive and highly stable income stream, as well as various prizes and awards for creators with the most creative and quality content.
That said, Bilibili is most famous for their video commenting feature known as Danmu, whichallows users to comment at any point in a video. These comments are saved along with the video’s corresponding timestamps.
When others go to watch a video, they will see comments from other users shoot across the screen at the exact timestamps when the comments were made. This allows for a very interactive watching experience that has been hugely successful in building strength and friendship within the ACG community.
In an effort to diversify its revenue streams, Bilibili has also created beauty, fashion, and e-commerce sections on its website. This has opened up even more advertising opportunities for the platform, and has given many of its key opinion leaders the chance to partner with the biggest brand names in the market.
Bilibili seems to have combined the very best features of existing media platforms like YouTube, Instagram, Netflix, and Twitch, into one big site targeted at China’s Gen Z. As such, it has caught the attention of many investors.
Just this past year, Bilibili’s stock managed to gain almost 300%.
The site is also backed by giants such as Sony, Tencent, and Alibaba, who each have their own significant stake in the company. Bilibili is ending the quarter with over 197.2 million monthly active users, up by 54% from last year, and 53.3 million daily active users, up by 42% from last year. There is no denying that Bilibili has had a fantastic year and is on an impressive growth trajectory.
Written by Adele Su Yan Teo
Edited by Kedar Nagaraj, Christine Lee, Jimei Shen & Alexander Fleiss
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