Bilibili

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Bilibili
Bilibili logo 2.png
Type of site
Video sharing
Available inChinese (Simplified)
Chinese (Traditional)
English (Southeast Asian edition only)
Thai (Southeast Asian edition only)
Traded asNASDAQBILI
Area servedMainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macau, and Southeast Asia
OwnerBilibili Inc. (company legal name in Latin)
Shanghai Hode Information Technology Co., Ltd.
Created byXu Yi (⑨bishi)
CEOChen Rui
URLbilibili.com


2009: mikufans.cn
February 2010: bilibili.us
June 25, 2011:bilibili.tv
August 2012 (new addition): bilibili.kankanews.com
June 16, 2014: bilibili.com


Short URL: acg.tv


Short URL on mobile: b23.tv
CommercialYes
RegistrationOptional (required for uploading, liking videos and posting comments)
UsersOver 31.6 million registered users (December 2017)
560,000 (October 2012)
Launched14 January 2010; 11 years ago (2010-01-14)
Current statusActive

Bilibili (stylized bilibili, simplified Chinese: 哔哩哔哩; traditional Chinese: 嗶哩嗶哩; pinyin: bīlībīlī), also nicknamed B Site (B as opposed to AcFun) in China, is a Chinese video sharing website based in Shanghai, themed around animation, comic, and games (ACG), where users can submit, view and add overlaid commentary on videos. Bilibili uses Adobe Flash or HTML5 player, to play user submitted videos hosted by either itself or third-party sources, featuring a scrolling commenting system nicknamed "bullet curtain" (弹幕 Chinese: danmu; Japanese: danmaku), referring to the bullet hell subgenere of shoot 'em up video games.

Bilibili offers videos of various fields, including anime, music, dancing, science and technology, entertainment, movie, drama, fashion, video game strategy, daily life and advertisement films, but is also known for the extensive kuso-style parodies by subcultural content creators. Bilibili provides a live streaming service where the audience can interact with streamers. Other than videos, Bilibili also offers games, mostly ACG-themed mobile games, such as the Chinese version of Fate/Grand Order.

The founder of Bilibili, Xu Yi (Chinese: 徐逸; pinyin: Xú Yì, known as "⑨bishi" on the internet), created a prototype website named Mikufans.cn after college graduation in three days. He relaunched the website in 24 January 2010 with the name Bilibili.[1] Later in 2011, he founded a startup, Hangzhou Huandian Technology,[2] to manage the development and operation of Bilibili. Since November 2014, Chen Rui [zh] (Chinese: 陈睿) has been CEO and Chairman of the Board of Bilibili.[3]

In September 2020, the company launched its first Bilibili Video Satellite.[4][5]

History[edit]

Inspired by the similar video sharing websites, Nico Nico Douga and AcFun, Xu Yi founded Bilibili in 2009.[6] At the time, Xu Yi was an AcFun user and wanted to create a site better than AcFun.[7] He spent three days creating a prototype website named Mikufans.cn as a fandom community of Hatsune Miku.[1] As it grew, he reshaped the website to specialize in video sharing and launched it on 14 January 2010 with the name Bilibili (bilibili.us), which is the nickname of the protagonist Mikoto Misaka in the anime A Certain Scientific Railgun.[8] Bilibili also names many of its features with reference to this anime. Bilibili celebrates Mikoto Misaka's birthday on its homepage every 2 May.

In 2011, Bilibili's domain name bilibili.us was revoked because of the domain registrar enforcing .us restrictions. As a result, Bilibili switched to bilibili.tv on 25 June 2011. Afterwards, in late 2011, Xu Yi founded the startup, Hangzhou Huandian Technology (Chinese: 幻电; pinyin: huàndiàn; lit. 'fantastic electricity') based in Hangzhou, Zhejiang, for better development and operation of Bilibili.

In April 2012, Bilibili obtained an agreement with Nico Nico Douga to webcast the latest Chinese-subbed episodes of the newly airing anime Fate/Zero starting from 7 April.[9] However, this program was censored and ordered to stop after three episodes for being reported as unauthorized operation of Internet audio-video broadcasting services. Its operating company Hangzhou Huandian Technology was administratively penalized and fined 10,000 yuan by local government.[10]

In August 2012, Bilibili started to display logos on its homepage to indicate affiliation with the state-owned Shanghai Media Group and share the use of various content provider licenses in hope to avoid future legal risk. Meanwhile, anonymous visitors to bilibili.tv got redirected to a subdomain of Shanghai Media Group Broad Band subsidiary (bilibili.smgbb.cn).

Since November 2014, Chen Rui (陈睿), a billionaire tech magnate, has been CEO and Chairman of the Board of Bilibili.[3][11] Chen earned his bachelor’s degree from Chengdu University of Information Technology. Chen previously served as a general manager at Kingsoft and founded various internet companies like Cheetah Mobile and Beike Internet Security. In 2016, Fortune named Chen Rui as one of China’s 40 Under 40.[3]

In March 2018, Bilibili filed for a U.S. IPO of up to $4 billion with the SEC with plans to list on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).[12] The company listed on the NASDAQ on 28 March 2018.[13]

On 23 March 2019, at AnimeJapan 2019, Bilibili announced that they had partnered with Sony-owned American anime distributor Funimation to jointly license anime titles for both the U.S. and Chinese markets.[14]

On 9 April 2020, Sony Corporation of America announced it would be acquiring a 4.98% minority stake in Bilibili for US$400 million, valuing Bilibili at US$8 billion.[15] Upon completion of the deal, Sony and Bilibili will sign an agreement to expand anime and mobile games within the Chinese market.[16]

Features[edit]

Besides hosting video content, Bilibili's core feature is a real-time captioning system that displays user comments as streams of scrolling subtitles overlaid on the video playback screen, visually resembling a danmaku shooter game. These subtitles are called bullet comments, danmu, or danmaku[17][18][19] (Chinese: 弹幕; pinyin: dànmù; Japanese: 弾幕; rōmaji: danmaku; "bullet curtain"). Such subtitles are simultaneously broadcast to all viewers in real-time, creating a chat room experience in which users feel like watching and playing together with others. This system offers users various subtitle controls, including style, format, and movement. Users are also fond of creating translated and soramimi subtitles, or special effects with carefully formed subtitles.[8]

The site also offers a feature called "advanced subtitles", where users can use ECMAScript-based API to control video playback, dynamically change danmaku subtitles and draw shapes onto the screen.But now some features are only available on Flash Players, which HTML5 Players are not worked very well on that.[20][21] This functionality is only available with the video poster's permission.

Bullet comments are made to be easy to post, but due to the number and diversity of users, only registered users with cell phone number tied to the account and a user test passed may post bullet comments. Users may type their thoughts (regulations should be abided; for example, no bullet comments that excessively and meaninglessly occupy screen space and disturb normal watching is prohibited) in the type bar under the video, and these comments will show up on the video, usually moving from right to left. If viewers do not want to be distracted by bullet comments, they can turn it off anytime easily. There are three types of bullet comments offered in Bilibili, rolling comments, top comments and bottom comments. Each comment is limited to 20 characters and visitors cannot comment the normal comment page (located below the video). For normal registered users, they are free to choose bullet comments from small to big size, limited of 220 characters. Also they can change the color of the bullet comments and they can comment on the video's actual comment page. For “professional” bullet comment users, they can choose “extra small” and “extra big” bullet comment. They can also choose to move the comment from left to right (normally it goes from right to left). The blogger of the video has the right to clear or save all bullet comments.

Bullet comments or Danmu can be turned on or off. Sometimes there are so many bullet comments on the screen that it is hard to even watch the actual video. With some heat videos like Sherlock, there are more than 8,000 bullet comments.[22] However, people also argue that bullet comment allows users to share opinion and draw discussion easily, which creates a unique chat-room environment that makes viewer feel like they are watching the video with the whole world. Bullet comments became a special culture and language in Bilibili. One commonly seen is "high energy alert" (高能预警), which is a kind of spoiler, to tell the audience of the coming climax or some exciting, terrible scenes.[23]

However, the Ministry of Culture of China criticized the bullet comment system for allowing and spreading vicious comments in the video. They declared to keep an eye on the bullet-comment system and stop the spreading of negative energy on the internet.[24]

Bilibili is experimenting with HTML5 video playback technology,[25] and has released smartphone apps for playback on iOS, Android and Windows Phone.[26][27]

Bilibili also has an API, enabling third-party developers to access website content including video lists, comments, danmu subtitles, special topics and airing programs. The API service is open for signing up. It is rate-limited and requires developer keys for authentication.[28]

Operation[edit]

Bilibili's operating company consists of a team of nine members all versed in the Japanese language and culture. Two are web developers, including Xu Yi himself, and the rest are website editors and moderators. Bilibili's service is completely free. Its main revenue comes from webpage advertisement and affiliate marketing.[1]

Membership[edit]

Bilibili is not open for one minute registration like others, but does not usually require payment. Most content on Bilibili is free for anonymous viewing, while some are member-only. Select serial videos are also available under the Chengbao system (承包), in which case members who pay get access. Membership is required for submitting videos or comments. Bilibili limits membership availability to balance the quality of its user base and moderation capacity. Opportunity of signing up is available occasionally. Starting from March 2013, the website is open for signing up with a limited number of invitation codes sent by existing users. After registration, users need to complete a 100 question examination to become a premium member, with questions that cover mostly ACG areas. The level of difficulty is so high that users call it "The Chinese Otaku High-school Exam". After 19 May 2015, Bilibili lowered the difficulty to 50 questions, with 20 consisting of proper manner of commentary posting, and 30 knowledge questions on areas of choice. After 26 February 2017, Bilibili restarted its 100 question exam, with 60 as passing score.[29] For senior members (level 5 and 6), invitational codes can be purchased, 1 and 2 per month respectively; they can be used to invite new members into bilibili.

Subscription[edit]

On 9 October 2016, bilibili launched a paid business "big member". It costs RMB 25 per month to purchase, RMB 68 for 3 months, and RMB 233 for 12 months. "big member" enjoy "titanium alloy picture quality" (1080p + native resolution), expressions in the comment area, autonomous head images in space, and early viewing channels in bilibili."big member" annual fee members also enjoy monthly B coin rebate, pink nicknames, games Welfare packages, discounts and other services.[30][31]

On 7 November 2016, major members announced a revision, canceled the purchase entrance, and changed to member points redemption.[32] On September 4, 2017, Bilibili reopened direct purchase channels for "big member".[33]

From 1 January 2018, Bilibili has adopted a "pay-first-see" mode for some animations, that is, "big member" have the right to watch the latest episode first, and other non-paying users need to delay for one week to watch the animations. Two weeks after the end of the animation, except for the first episode of free viewing, other episodes are exclusive to members. Some animation offer paid (B coins) purchases.[34]

Account suspension[edit]

On February 26, 2017, the account blocking function was launched to optimize the audio-visual environment and user experience, and regulate the website content. When the administrator finds the offending content, the offending content will be deleted and the offender will be punished accordingly. After the audit result is reviewed, it will be released after the account is closed for a temporary time or permanently and processed by the reviewer to act as a deterrent.[35]

On June 15, 2017, Bilibili officially launched the Discipline Committee function. As long as it is a member of station LV3 (changed to LV4 on June 16 of the same year) and above, there is no illegal operation within 90 days and real-name authentication can be applied to become a discipline committee. Discipline committee members can arbitrate reports of violations in some communities and decide whether the behavior is illegal by voting.[36]

Upload and review[edit]

Bilibili does not allow duplicate videos (called video crashes), but allows high-resolution videos to collide with lower-resolution videos of the same content. If a new animation is uploaded by another uploader, the uploader originally designated by Bilibili or the uploader responsible for this new animation will have two hours to upload, and it will not be uploaded after two hours, Bilibili will use The new animation uploaded by other uploader has been extended to six hours after October 16, 2012. After the upload of Sina video was banned, Bilibili used the video service provided by LeTV Cloud to upload, the sound quality was uniformly suppressed to 128k (AAC), the direct transmission supports a bit rate of 2000kbit/s, and the file size is below 2G.[37]

Youku videos can be cast in the entertainment area. Non-entertainment areas must meet certain conditions and cannot be cast in the music area or the animation area. On August 21, 2012, Youku submissions were no longer allowed, but in fact, Youku submissions will still appear on the site. On August 27, Youku sources were allowed again, but the requirements were more stringent, and the minimum picture quality requirement was high definition. On December 1, 2011, submission of potatoes was no longer allowed. Similarly, similar to other video websites in mainland China, bilibili also has strict content censorship. After the website has been legally commercialized, censorship has become more stringent. As of February 10, 2017, individual users are prohibited from uploading current politics videos, and only certification bodies are allowed to upload corresponding content.[38][39] On March 22, 2018, the bilibili definition upgrade was comprehensively tested, and the bit rate restrictions for uploading videos in various definitions were greatly relaxed. The 6000k high bit rate video upload was opened, and the audio bit rate limit for videos was released to 320k.[40]

Watch video[edit]

Some of the videos in Bilibili come from late-night animations of Japanese TV stations, NICONICO animations, YouTube and other video sharing sites. There are also many secondary creative content produced by Chinese domestic animation enthusiasts. Video content is uploaded or saved on Sina Podcast, Tencent Podcast, Youku and other mainland China video sharing websites and obtained corresponding videos through informal hacking and using LeTV Cloud.[41] From April 2013, a new animation submission list appeared like Oreimo (俺妹), Such as LeTV.com and Tencent.com, have announced that they have obtained an animation work authorized to broadcast exclusively on the mainland of China. Unlike the conventional subtitle group works, these animation works are all owned by the user whose website ID is “Moving” (now renamed Bilibili Animation), and the video is directly sourced from LeTV, Tencent and other websites.

At the end of June 2013, the website re-opened the direct video upload function. Directly uploaded videos are stored in LeTV Cloud under LeTV.com, and the uploaded videos are re-encoded. In early September 2013, users discovered that the new video player on the website would switch the video source based on the user's IP segment. If the IP is determined to be from mainland China, the video source will be redirected to LeTV Cloud, regardless of whether the submitted video source is Sina Video or other video websites, and users who use IP and other network proxy technologies to obtain IP outside China can continue to work as before Get videos from submission sources and watch. From October, all works of LeTV.com are redirected unconditionally to LeTV sources or jump to relevant pages of LeTV. If the IP does not belong to mainland China, the copyright information will be prompted and cannot be played, but some members and smartphones such as Android Clients are not affected by this.

In addition, bilibili has established a website MIMI that only Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan IP can access, and places a playback site that obtains authorized animation licenses from Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan channels. Later, the website was closed, and videos from Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan were authorized to upload directly to bilibili, but some animations will be marked with “仅限□□地区” on the title of the video according to the scope of authorization, and the ID of the submitting user will be displayed as “哔哩哔哩番剧出差".

Bullet screen[edit]

Bilibili offers the following three commonly used bullet screen modes: rolling bullet screen, top bullet screen, and bottom bullet screen.[42] Users who give 2 coins to the uploder (users who contribute videos) and get the consent of the uploder can post the advanced bullet screen. Its forms include, but are not limited to:

  1. a bullet screen in the reverse direction,
  2. a bullet screen that can be accurately positioned in any position, and
  3. a bullet screen that can fade, change color, and tilt.

Visitors and users below Level 2 cannot send bullet screen and visitors cannot leave comments below the video page. Ordinary users can post a bullet screen with a length of 220 characters, can change the color, select the top bar fixed, bottom fixed, right-to-left bullet screen, the font size is limited to "small", "big", you can post a comment below the video page Comment, you can post contributions, you can manage (delete / protect) the bullet screen in the videos you contributed, etc. Premium Barrage requires the consent of the UP Master and costs 2 coins to send. The number of bullet screen per video varies according to the length of the video:[43][44]

Video duration Within 30 s 31 seconds ~ 1 min 1~3 min 3~10 min 10~15 min 15~40 min 40~60 min 60 min +
bullet screen Cap 100 300 500 1000 1500 3000 6000 8000

Original Programming[edit]

Bilibili began its foray into original programming by joining the production of Season 4 of Informal Talks (非正式会谈). It has recently produced other original shows such as Rap for Youth (说唱新世代).[45][46]

Community[edit]

Bilibili has its official mascots elected by the community, Bili-tans, named "22" and "33".[47]

Bilibili has also established affiliated communities: Corari (Chinese: 协作乡; lit. 'Hometown of Collaboration', currently offline), a collaboration project founding community; DrawYoo, a creative drawing community; The Ninth Channel, a support forum for Bilibili.

As of 2015, Bilibili has over 50 million users, with 75% of them under the age of 24.[48]

Corporate Leadership[edit]

Past Executives[edit]

Current Executives[edit]

As of 6 July 2020, the current executive leadership includes:[49]

Sponsorship[edit]

In October 2016, Bilibili announced that they have sponsored Shanghai Sharks of the China Basketball Association. Bilibili chose to sponsor the Shanghai Sharks primarily due to the fact they both originated from Shanghai.[52] It was Bilibili's first time stepping into the sports industry as well as the first mainstream attempt of combining ACG culture with basketball, attracting the younger generation's attention towards sports and setting up a modernized and symbiotic image for the basketball industry.

Shanghai Sharks changed its name to Shanghai Bilibili.[53]

Esports ventures[edit]

League of Legends[edit]

In December 2017, Bilibili purchased an esports team originally called IM for League of Legends and it was renamed as Bilibili Gaming (BLG for abbreviation). BLG acted as a brand new team to play in the Tencent League of Legends Pro League (LPL) in China since S8 sports competition season of League of Legends World Championship (LOLWC).[54]

In January 2018, Bilibili purchased broadcast right and right-on-request for spring competition season of LPL, LOLWC, and League of Legends Rift Rivals of S8. Hereto, Bilibili moved forward to establish an overall distribution of "broadcast-teams-offline sports events" in the sports industry.[55]

Overwatch[edit]

In September 2018, Bilibili purchased a team in the Overwatch League for the city of Hangzhou. The new team, the Hangzhou Spark, also a reference to Mikoto Misaka, is taking part in the 2019 season.[56]

Cooperations[edit]

Taobao[edit]

The first time Bilibili cooperated with the biggest Chinese online shopping website Taobao was in December 2014 as part of the 12 December Online Shopping Festival. Bilibili's logo appeared on the Taobao's front page. Users could shoot danmaku to express their ideas. Bilibili's staff had reportedly already been stationed in the Taobao Project office.[57]

Durex[edit]

On 13 March 2015, Durex released a longest-ever online advertisement on Bilibili website, which lasted for three hours. The advertisement was aimed at buyers purchasing presents for White Day. The advertisement campaign was for promoting the new Durex Air and its concept supermarket idea, which attracted 100 million audiences who watched it online and sent their comments by danmu. It is a new kind of creative digital marketing method acting as a performance art that satisfies young people's curiosity.[58]

Xiaomi[edit]

On 10 May 2015, Xiaomi held a product launch for its new series Xiaomi Max. During the conference, Bilibili acted as its live broadcast platform that lasted for 19 days. The audience totally reached 39.54 million during the period and comments on it broke through 3.17 billion.[59] The broadcast was to test and demonstrate the battery life of Xiaomi Max by checking the smartphone once an hour to see if it was still powered on. Although it was thought to be a most boring ever live show, still, many audiences kept watching it till the end of the broadcast.[citation needed] It is a cooperation between an online and offline brand that makes different marketing tools integrated to bring along a most effective marketing and advertising campaign.

Games[edit]

The group's companies have published the following games for the Chinese market:

Bilibili
MICA Team / Sunborn Network Technology
(Wuhu) Sharejoy Network Technology Co.Ltd[61]
Bilibili HK Limited[61]
Shanghai Hode Information Technology[61]

Controversy[edit]

Cai Xukun[edit]

Cai Xukun, a Chinese artist and singer, was chosen as NBA spokesperson in January 2019, sparking controversy. His introduction video from Idol Producer, which involved him playing basketball, went viral. Following this, hundreds of parody videos appeared on Bilibili mocking the original video. Cai Xukun issued a lawsuit notice asking for Bilibili to remove the parody videos.[64] Bilibili responded that they believe law is fair, and didn't punish any related uploader. Then, "Chicken you are so beautiful" (sounds like a word of his song) and "Sing, jump, rap, baseketball" (his word in a clip) became viral soon. There are some people argued that the Legal Notice has many mistakes and became a joke. Some even questioned the real intention of Kun's Studio. Kun's fans wanted to fight back, but signing up in Bilibili need a test, and almost nobody of them can pass it quickly, it also became a joke. To prevent the potential attack from Kun's fun, Bilibili temporary closed the upgrade channel for low-grade accounts.[65][66]

Servers in Taiwan[edit]

In September 2019 Bilibili was discovered to be illegally renting servers in Taiwan. The Taiwanese National Communications Commission required provider Chief Telecom to cease renting space to Bilibili immediately after the issue was disclosed by a Taiwan-based think tank. Chinese VOD services are not allowed to operate in Taiwan due to national security concerns.[67]

Source code leak[edit]

In April 2019, a repository called "Bilibili website backend codes", with a large number of user names and passwords, was published on GitHub. The repository, which had more than 50 MB of source code, was taken down by GitHub due to "excessive use of resources". The repository amassed more than 6,000 stars in just a few hours. However, copies of the repository could still be found on GitHub and other platforms. Bilibili responded that the leaked codes were from an older version of their website and that they had taken "defensive steps to ensure the accident won't compromise user data security".[68]

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