BiliBili — one of the most interesting websites in China and the problem that they are facing
Ever image that you can watch Sherlock with people who also love it? Did you tweet “Oh My God” when you found that Moriaty reborn after a whole season? Do you talk to your friends on Tumbler about the new episode of Black Mirror?
If the answers are three big YES, then maybe you want to log into a website called bilibili.com. Found in 2010, known as “B station”, bilibili is a ACG-based website. ACD stands for Animation, Comic and Game. The most special thing about bilibili is it got a function called “bullet comment”. It’s the instant comment that users wrote when they watch a video and these comments will show on the screen, moving from right to left. With some heat videos like Sherlock, there can be more than 8000 comments that users can barely see the actual screen. To watch an introductino about the website click: http://youtu.be/J84ShmmljNw
Bullet comments are interesting. Sometimes it’s even more interesting than the actual program. Users will write their opinions, complains, questions on and sometimes some funny conversation or even arguments going on with the program. For some video like Grammy ceremony or BAFTA, these comments can become fighting between different fans. The users also create a system of the language, like “2333” for “haha”, “wait for me the guy/girl in the front” means “i thought of the same thing as the one who just wrote a comment”, etc. Some people will find it annoying, but if you have watched a program and you think it will draw a lot of discussion, it’s worth looking at.
Moreover, bilibili.com has some exclusive source as fan movies. These movies are made by fans of different movies, actors or books. They cut video clips from various movies and TV series and put it up as a whole new video. Most of the theme are bromance related. Bromance stands for a combination of “boy” and “romance”. Which you can see a lot on Tumbler about Thor and his brother, Sherlock and Watson and others. It’s only on bilibili.com, hence the popularity of the website in China’s Internet world. Also because youtube and Facebook are blocked in China, websites like bilibili which allow users upload videos from other sources becomes a tool to watch various programs.
One of the user, Chen Yijun, talked about her experience of bilibili: “The bullet comments are annoying,” she said, “I always turned it off. But I use the website to watch fan movies.
“I found fan videos of stars on (bilibili) that I can’t find on other websites so I choose bilibili. ” To listen to a recording of the interview click: http://youtu.be/WngAAShVqys
However, the problems that bilibili is facing now is the same problems that video websites in China is now facing: the copyright problem. There are some Japanese comic programs that bilibili put a legal copy logo on, but there are still a large number of movies and TV series that uploaded by personal users. These programs usually comes from other video websites like Youku and Tudou, even some comes from illegal downloading. All these programs make the copyright problem an issue.
On another hand, bilibili put a “own an episode” plan on, which they claims that they don’t want users wasting any minute of their live watching advertisements. But due to the fact that it takes a lot of money to buy the copy, they hope the users with ability can donate B coins to contract an episode. There will be a thanking list of every contractor at the end of every legally-bought episode.
The interesting is, none of the staff of bilibili team accepted interview request. The leader of bilibili, known as Bishi, ignored messages asking for interview all the time and so does Chen Rui, the man who has been a fan for B station for years and recently became the CEO of bilibili. In the email from the market department of the website, the staff, Wu Wenzhou, also refused the request saying the company doesn’t allow interviews. Another staff of bilibili also said the same thing on Weibo message that the boss of the company doesn’t allow the staff talking to the press either.
A IT practitioner in Guangzhou, China, John Zhuang, analyzed the situation that bilibili is in. John has been doing apps for mobile and in IT companies for two years. He said: “The only thing that websites like bilibili has to get over with is they need a standard process of their business model, including buying copies and manage them. The limitation from the government, including the shut down of some subtitles groups which translate programs from different language will eventually lose to the market and the needs of audience.”
Chen Yi Jun also think most of the programs in the website has copyright problem: “some of the programs are TV series from US, or UK and they have no rights to show the videos to Chinese audience.”
In general, B station is indeed an interesting website — image what could be like if Youtube has the bullet comment function, it could be nice. For Chinese audience, B station is a good place to found out opinions about the others and create an environment that you are watching a program with the world. However it still takes a long process for bilibili, and every video website in China to solve the problem about copyright. Being a contractor can be an option, and there will definitely be other solutions.