Type of site
|Owner||Shanghai Hode Information Technology Co., Ltd.|
|Created by||Xu Yi (⑨bishi)|
|Registration||Optional (required for content creation)|
|Users||560,000 (October 2012)|
|Launched||January 14, 2010|
Bilibili (stylized as bilibili, Chinese: 哔哩哔哩; pinyin: bīlībīlī) is a video sharing website themed around anime, manga, and game fandom based in China, where users can submit, view, and add commentary subtitles on videos. It is a domain having .tv extension. This website uses Adobe Flash Video and HTML5 technology to display user submitted videos hosted by third-party sources, while featuring a real-time overlaying subtitle system for interactive playback experience.
With the fast growing number of visitors on Bilibili, Bilibili decided to expand their functions. Besides the dominant themes, now Bilibili offers videos about music, dancing, science, entertainment, movie, drama, and fashion. Also Bilibili provides live broadcasting rooms where the host of the room is able to live broadcasting and viewers are able to interact with the host. Usually the topic is about anime game strategy.
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 January 25, 2010 with the name Bilibili. Later in 2011, he founded a startup, Hangzhou Huandian Technology, to manage the development and operation of Bilibili.
Xu Yi was an AcFun user in 2009. He was unsatisfied by the instability of the service and decided to create an alternative out of fun. He spent three days and created a prototype website named Mikufans.cn as a fandom community of Hatsune Miku. As it grew, he reshaped the website to specialize in video sharing and launched it on January 14, 2010 with the name Bilibili (bilibili.us), which is the nickname of the protagonist Mikoto Misaka in the anime Toaru Kagaku no Railgun for her electric superpower.
In 2011, Bilibili's domain name bilibili.us was revoked because of the domain registrar enforcing .US restrictions.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 June 25, 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 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.
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).
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 "danmu" (literally "bullets"). 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. 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. This functionality is only available with the video poster's permission.
Bullet comments are easy to post. User just need to write their thoughts in the type bar under the video, and these comments will show up on the video, usually moving from right to left. If viewers don’t 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 button comments. For non-registered visitors, they are able to post either small or medium size bullet 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 can’t even watch the actual video. With some heat video like Sherlock, there are more than 8,000 bullet comment. But 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 become a special culture and language in Bilibili. One commonly seen is "high energy alert" (高能預警), which is a kind of spoiler, to tell audience the coming climax or something exciting, terrible scenes.
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.
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.
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.
Most content on Bilibili is free for anonymous viewing, while some are member-only to avoid censorship. 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.
Challenges and Risks
It relies on user-submitted posts which reference videos from third-party sources, such as Sina, letv and Youku. Thus, it risks of being blocked from the sources as it grows large enough to become a burden. Even though its community has been resilient, it has difficulty in maintaining content availability and managing copyright infringement. Bilibili had success in negotiating with Japanese anime companies for licensed webcast, as mentioned above.
The Chinese government has stringent regulations and censorship on Internet services, particularly on Internet video services like Bilibili. Incomplete licenses or insufficient censorship compliance may be serious enough threats to shut down the entire operation of Bilibili if its legal defense is underprepared.
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.
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- 杭州幻电科技有限公司开业公告 [The Opening Announcement of Hangzhou Huandian Technology Co., Ltd.] (Press release) (in Chinese). News Center of Zhejiang Provincial Administration for Industry & Commerce. 2011-12-20. Archived from the original on 2013-04-13. Retrieved 2012-10-01.
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- "Fate/Zero第2季週六晚間繁中字幕同步播出！" [The second season of Fate/Zero will be webcast with traditional Chinese subtitle simultaneously in Saturday evening!] (Press release) (in Chinese). Nico Nico Douga Taiwan. April 7, 2012. Retrieved 2012-10-01.
另外，本次為了造福中國地區的粉絲，也確定在中國動畫網站『嗶哩嗶哩動畫』進行《Fate/Zero》第２季簡體中文字幕網路同步播出！(Besides, for the enjoyment of fans in China at this time, we decided to webcast Fate/Zero the second season with simplified Chinese subtitle on the Chinese anime website "Bilibili Donghua" at the same time!)
- Hangzhou Municipal Bureau of Culture, Radio, TV, Film, Press and Publication (April 26, 2012). "行政处罚结果公示" [Public Notice on Result of the Administrative Penalty]. Archived from the original on 2012-08-31. Retrieved 2012-10-01.
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- Lin, Claire (2014-12-11). "BiliBili — one of the most interesting websites in China and the problem that they are facing". Medium. Retrieved 2016-02-06.
- Guo, Ying (2016-04-15). ""BULLET COMMENTS": THE CONSTRUCTION OF ONLINE CARNIVAL IN CHINA". Asia Pacific Memo. Retrieved 2016-09-12.
- "Bilibili". 维基百科，自由的百科全书 (in Chinese).
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- Client app on Google Play Store
- Client app on Windows Store
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- Bilibili Announcement (May 27, 2010). "【BILI娘投票结束】投票结果发表" [(The Vote for Bili-tans Ended) Announcement on Results of the Vote]. Retrieved 2012-10-01.