China’s No.1 anime streaming site Bilibili to turn its 100 million viewers into a cash cow

Bilibili, China’s leading anime streaming site, is making further commercialization efforts by offering what it calls a “big membership plan”.

The Shanghai-based site on Sunday announced the plan, which costs RMB 25 (USD 4) per month. The benefits of a paying membership include watching 1080P high definition videos, which was not previously available on the site.

The paid membership also allows using emojis in the comments. Go figure, the millennials in China might go nuts over some of their favorite emojis.

Bilibili seems to be aiming to get a more complete understanding of their user demographics: it requires users to answer a series of questions, or to get an invitation code, before they can become free members.

Founded in 2009, Bilibili features the “bullet-screen” function, which means users overlay comments that stream across the video while watching.

Unlike mainstream video sites, where videos without ads are exclusive for paying members, Bilibili does not attach video advertisements before videos.

Bilibili, like its rival Acfun, targets the young Chinese who have attached themselves to the anime subculture which originated in Japan. It is is a subculture widely referred to in China as “Er Ci Yuan”, meaning “Two Dimensional” in English. The subculture includes animation, comics, games and novels (ACGN) and has become an important source of entertainment for many young Chinese.

The company has attracted 100 million monthly active users, among which 67.5% are aged under 24, according to Bilibili.

Over the past few years, the company has made a handful of commercialization efforts, including selling merchandise and imported games.

The President of Bilibili, Chen Rui, on Monday posted on Weibo , China’s largest social network, explaining that the launch of the “big membership plan” won’t affect the existing functions and user experience on the site.


(Top photo from Baidu Images)

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