Bilibili

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Bilibili
Bilibili-logo.gif
Screenshot
Bilibili main page June 2014.png
Screenshot of Bilibili's main page, showing thumbnails of popular videos.
Type of site
Video sharing
Available inChinese
Traded asNASDAQBILI
OwnerBilibili Inc. (company legal name in Latin)
Shanghai Hode Information Technology Co., Ltd.
Created byXu Yi (⑨bishi)
Websitewww.bilibili.com
Alexa rankIncrease 39 (June 2019)[1]
CommercialYes
RegistrationOptional (required for uploading, liking videos and posting comments)
Users560,000 (October 2012),over 31.6 million registered user (December 2017)
Launched14 January 2010; 9 years ago (2010-01-14)
Current statusOnline (website and service)
App Stores (mobile APP)

Bilibili (stylized as bilibili, Chinese: 哔哩哔哩; pinyin: bìlībìlī; nicknamed B站, literally "the B site", NASDAQBILI) is a video sharing website themed around animation, comic, and game (ACG) based in China, where users can submit, view, and add commentary subtitles on videos. Bilibili uses an Adobe Flash or HTML5 player, which can be manually switched, to play user submitted videos hosted by either itself or third-party sources, while featuring a real-time overlaying subtitle system for interactive playback experience.

With the fast growing number of visitors on Bilibili, it decided to expand their functions. Besides the dominant themes, now Bilibili offers videos of various fields, including music, dancing, science and technology, entertainment, movie, drama, fashion, daily life and even advertisement films. Also Bilibili provides a live streaming service where audiences can interact with streamers. Usually the topic is about anime, content creating, game strategy and so on.

Other than videos, Bilibili also offers games, mostly ACG (animation, comic and game) themed mobile games, such as the Chinese version of Fate/Grand Order.

Inspired by similar video sharing websites Nico Nico Douga and AcFun, the founder of Bilibili, Xu Yi (Chinese: 徐逸; pinyin: xúyì, 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.[2] Later in 2011, he founded a startup, Hangzhou Huandian Technology,[3] to manage the development and operation of Bilibili.

History[edit]

Bilibili was founded by Xu Yi in 2009.[4] At the time, Xu Yi was an AcFun user and wanted to create a site better than AcFun.[5] He spent three days and created a prototype website named Mikufans.cn as a fandom community of Hatsune Miku.[2] 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 for her electric superpower.[6] Bilibili also names many of its features with reference to this anime, such as to give a "coin" to a user as contribution, which is the reference to Mikoto Misaka's preference to use coins to shoot her electricity. On top of that, 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; literally: '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 latest Chinese-subbed episodes of the newly airing anime Fate/Zero starting from 7 April.[7] 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.[8]

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).

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).[9] The company listed on the NASDAQ on 28 March 2018.[10]

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.[11]

Leaking[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. Copies of the repository, however, 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".[12]

Features[edit]

Besides hosting video content, Bilibili's core feature is a real-time commentary subtitle system that displays user comments as streams of moving subtitles overlaid on the video playback screen, visually resembling a danmaku shooter game. These subtitles are called "danmaku[13][14] " (Chinese: 弹幕; pinyin: dànmù; literally: 'barrage'). 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.[6] The site also offers a feature called "advanced subtitles", where users can use ECMAScript-based API to control video playback, dynamically change danmu 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.[15][16] This functionality is only available with the video poster's permission.

Bullet comments are easy to post, but due to the immense number of users and diverse user quality, 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.

Some people find it annoying to watch a video with bullet comments all over the screen because there are so much that they cannot even watch the actual video. With some heat videos like Sherlock, there are more than 8,000 bullet comments.[17] 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.[18]

However, The Ministry of Culture of China criticized bullet comment for allowing and spreading vicious comments in the video. Therefore, they will keep an eye on the bullet-comment system and they will try everything to stop spreading negative energy on internet.[19]

Bilibili is experimenting with HTML5 video playback technology,[20] and has released smartphone apps for playback on iOS, Android and Windows Phone.[21][22]

Bilibili also has an API, enabling third-party developers to access website content including video lists, comments, "danmaku" subtitles, special topics and airing programs. The API service is open for signing up. It is rate-limited and requires developer keys for authentication.[23]

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.[2]

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" policy, 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.[24] 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.

Community[edit]

Bilibili has its official mascots elected by the community, Bili-tans, named "22" and "33".[25]

Bilibili has also established affiliated communities: Corari (Chinese: 协作乡; literally: '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.[26]

Expansion Strategies[edit]

Offline Strategies[edit]

Sponsorship[edit]

In October 2016, Bilibili announced that they have sponsored Shanghai Sharks (of the China Basketball Association (CBA)), owned by Yao Ming. Bilibili chose to sponsor Shanghai Sharks primarily due to the fact they both originated from Shanghai.[27] 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.[28]

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).[29]

In January 2018, Bilibili purchased broadcast right and right-on-request for spring competition season of LPL, LOLWC, and League of Legends Rift Rivals[30] of S8. Hereto, Bilibili moved forward to establish an overall distribution of "broadcast-teams-offline sports events" in the sports industry.[31]

Overwatch[edit]

In September 2018, Bilibili purchased a team in the Overwatch League for the city of Hangzhou. The new team, the Hangzhou Spark, is taking part in the 2019 season.[32]

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.[33]

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 danmaku. It is a new kind of creative digital marketing method acting as a performance art that satisfies young people's curiosity.[34]

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.[35] 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.[36] 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 companies have published games for Chinese market.

MICA Team / Sunborn Network Technology

(Wuhu) Sharejoy Network Technology Co.Ltd[37]
Bilibili HK Limited[37]
Shanghai Hode Information Technology[37]
  • 方舟指令 (Ark Order)[39]


Controversy[edit]

Cai Xukun[edit]

Cai Xukun, a Chinese artist and singer mainly targeting female recipients, was chosen as NBA spokesperson in January 2019, sparking controversy.[40] He later released a video of himself playing basketball. Consecutively, the "Guichu" (Kuchichu) video makers begin making videos, most of which did not constitute a violation of Bilibili policy, but are parodies in possession of a negative altitude towards him. Cai Xukun issued a lawsuit notice as a result,[41] further fuming about the creation of such videos. Currently, searching online for 'Cai Xukun' will still yield a large number of modified videos of his basketball-playing.

References[edit]

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