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Bilibili expects millions to tune in to New Year’s Eve gala

Written by Wency Chen Published on     3 mins read

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Bilibili’s Nasdaq-listed stock rose more than fivefold this year.

Chinese video platform Bilibili (NASDAQ: BILI) is looking to attract a record-breaking juvenile audience in a new edition of its New Year’s Eve gala, which it dubbed “The Most Beautiful Night of 2020,” on Thursday.

The four-hour three-chapter online event will kick off in a video format repassing the year with all its struggles and tragedies but eventually moving on into the future. Most of the acts of the show have been pre-recorded, although the countdown to the new year will be livestreamed from Wuhan, the city at the heart of the coronavirus pandemic.

The star-studded gala of Bilibili, a site famous for its ACG (anime, comics, games) content and a hotbed of internet slang and viral memes that are shared among younger netizens, will feature a Marvel-themed musical performance by pianist Lang Lang, singer Zhou Shen performing the theme song from a widely-acclaimed Chinese cartoon movie, Miumiu Guitargirl, a seven-year-old music lover whose videos gained popularity on the platform during the pandemic, and the winners of Bilibili’s first rap reality show Rap for Youth. Mainstream celebrities, such as Han Hong, the band Mayday, pop star G.E.M., and Chinese rock and roll OG Cui Jian. Hong Kong’s main broadcaster TVB will air the event as the fireworks display over Victoria Harbour has been canceled.

With over 910,000 fans on Bilibili, Lang Lang is not only admired for his musical talent but also the way his videos provide a source of amusement for fans. In October, an auto-tune remix video of Lang Lang giving a piano lesson went viral, amassing over 14 million views on the platform. Source: Bilibili.

The video-streaming platform hosted the spectacle for the first time last year. Unlike most annual galas in major television stations, Bilibili tailored the show particularly to the taste of its GenZ audience, an open-minded cohort that increasingly defines the mainstream culture.

The event reached almost 82 million live viewers and was re-watched 79 million times within one week. Buoyed by the positive reactions and the announcement of a collaboration with Tencent Music Entertainment’s QQ Music, Bilibili’s US-listed stock surged 17.6% to USD 25 on the first trading day after the holiday.

Innovative traditional Chinese opera performances reflect the younger generation’s love for mashing up different cultures and cross-overs. Source: Bilibili.

With its fast-growing business, the company is aiming to gain a wider appeal on its path to profitability. During the lockdown, the entertainment hub provided relief and distraction for the masses that were holed up at home. As of end-September, Bilibili’s average monthly active users (MAUs) reached 197.2 million, and average daily active users (DAUs) crossed 53.3 million, representing a 54% and 42% year-over-year (YoY) increase, respectively. Its third-quarter revenue rose 74% YoY to RMB 3.2 billion (USD 475.1 million), but the net loss kept widening. The company sits on a cash pile worth USD 2.1 billion as of September 30. In April, Sony invested USD 400 million to secure a 4.98% stake in the company.

Bilibili recently launched localized services in Thailand and Malaysia, marking its first landing in Southeast Asia, joining the race for eyeballs against Chinese peers Tencent and iQiyi, as well as global streaming platforms like Netflix and Disney.

The stock market seems to welcome the company’s efforts, sending the shares up more than 400% this year to USD 94.

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