Amidst all New Year’s Eve countdown shows, Bilibili’s New Year Concert has to be the most special. The pre-recorded show reached 82 million simultaneous viewers at its peak, with 45 million playbacks, 1.36 million bullet chats, and over 14,000 comments generated. Aired online in the last night of 2019, the show was the only one amongst its competitors that was prerecorded and not broadcast live, but nevertheless stood out for its appeal to China’s Gen Z. The increasingly open-minded, aesthetically refined, playful, and fluid generation championed the era’s cultural openness, and was evolving from the cultural niche to mainstream — just like Bilibili as a platform.
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Founded in 2010, Bilibili began as an interactive animation-oriented video sharing platform featuring its bullet chat function, in which real-time comments scroll across the screen as a video plays. Having accumulated a wealth of original content creators in various fields, Bilibili was considered a paradise for countless Internet minorities and subcultures. Reflecting this, Bilibili brought niche content creators on stage with unprecedented cross-overs of styles and genres. With a popular dance crew dancing to music from Blizzard’s prominent game World of Warcraft, a group of Chinese tradition lovers singing a mix of ancient Chinese culture-inspired songs and the recently signed live-streamer Feng Timo performing her best-known covers, Bilibili celebrated its young content creators and audience by putting a spotlight on their tastes and choices, however frumpy they might sound to the older generations.
Bilibili also took major steps to go mainstream by inviting top artists including Kris Wu, GAI, Bibi Zhou and New Pants to the stage. Elements from the hit American TV show Game of Thrones, world-famous novel and film series Harry Potter, and Academy Award-winning Japanese animation Spirited Away were also celebrated in the concert. “Inheritance and openness, classical and modern, pop and retro are not in conflict,” Bilibili stated in its media release. “A careful design will allow all of these elements to resonate with each other and with the audience.”
According to Bilibili’s 2019 Second Quarter Report, China’s Gen Z numbers 328 million people, and they are becoming mainstream with their unique interests and tastes. The platform, which requires a full 100-question quiz to become a member, currently boasts 128 million MAU (Monthly Active Users).