Bilibili uploaders strike citing revenue policy challenges

Zhang Long
As Bilibili's revenue policies change for content creators, many have stopped uploading videos or turned to other video-sharing platforms.
Zhang Long
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Several content creators on Bilibili, a popular video-sharing platform, have announced that they will no longer upload videos, citing changes in the platform's revenue policies.

The creators' announcements quickly became trending topics on Weibo, attracting a staggering 580 million views.

Well-known content creators, such as 靠脸吃饭的徐大王 and -LKs-, with more than 3 million and 4 million followers respectively, have cited personal reasons for discontinuing their uploads.

However, -LKs- clarified in a Weibo post that his revenue earnings from Bilibili had not changed much, indicating that the policy change was not the root cause of his decision.

While content creators with millions of followers may not feel the impact of the policy changes, those with smaller followings have reported a decrease in earnings.

Bilibili uploaders strike citing revenue policy challenges

With 3,823 followers, 不吃草椒的猫酱 says the total income from his Bilibili channel has decreased by more than 30 percent.

For example, uploader 不吃草椒的猫酱, who has more than 3,800 followers, told that many content creators had been receiving fewer rewards from their videos since the policy updates. The total income from his Bilibili channel had decreased by more than 30 percent.

Content creators used to earn 1 yuan (15 US cents) for every 300 views before Bilibili changed its revenue policies. According to one content creator, Bilibili's decision to cut revenue for content creators was understandable since it would help manage financial pressure.

Based on Bilibili's recent financial report, the platform's operating costs increased 18 percent year on year, totaling 18 billion yuan.

The company stated that the increase was due mainly to a rise in revenue sharing and original content purchasing costs. In particular, revenue sharing incentives for live broadcasting and advertising businesses reached 9.1 billion yuan – an 18 percent increase.

Bilibili uploaders strike citing revenue policy challenges

峰哥亡命天涯 can attract about 1 million views for each of his videos.

Travel content creator 峰哥亡命天涯, who has 1.5 million followers on Bilibili, received only 70,000 yuan from the platform last year despite averaging around 1 million views for each video.

Additionally, creators had complained that the increased competition on the platform made it more difficult to secure sponsorships. Sponsors had more choices on which video platforms to advertise their products, especially with the rise of short videos on other major platforms.

Bilibili uploaders strike citing revenue policy challenges

一只姜姜茶's production team in their rented office

Changes in Bilibili's policies are causing difficulties for content creators, especially for those whose channels are managed by a small team or a small company.

Uploader 一只姜姜茶 started running her Bilibili channel in mid-2020 and amassed more than 700,000 followers.

However, the team slowed its upload pace in 2021 and stopped completely in October 2022 because revenue could no longer cover the overheads of running the team, which included two editors, two copywriters, and rent for an office in Beijing – amounting to a total monthly cost of about 70,000 yuan.

For the two years she ran her channel, uploader 一只姜姜茶 secured a sponsor every two to three months, yet revenue from her Bilibili channel had never been enough to cover expenses, as revealed in a post.

Uniquely, Bilibili does not place ads at the beginning of videos like YouTube. According to 一只姜姜茶's analysis, sponsors on short-video platforms, such as Douyin, can receive many times more exposure for the same amount of money.

As such, many uploaders, such as G僧东, are finding it necessary to be active on multiple video platforms to remain financially stable.

Lengthier videos of between five and 10 minutes, such as the street interview style used by uploader G僧东, require much more effort to make compared to shorter videos on similar platforms.

However, it is more difficult for G僧东 to secure sponsorships, as a larger advertising spend goes towards short-video platforms.

Bilibili uploaders strike citing revenue policy challenges

G僧东 claims in his video that his short videos will generate more revenue.

Sponsors were more willing to pay short-video creators, as they could gain greater exposure through these videos. Even short-video creators with 500,000 followers on platforms such as Douyin could generate millions of views for sponsors, whereas Bilibili creators with millions of followers could struggle to compete with that level of exposure.

One friend of G僧东 who works in the advertising industry revealed that up to 80 to 90 percent of their company's advertising budget went to short-video platforms.

Bilibili's current four major businesses include mobile games, membership fees and live streaming user contributions, advertising, and e-commerce, according to a research paper released by Zhongtai Securities.

Despite the limitation on exclusive content purchasing, the platform was forecast to maintain revenue growth through live streaming. According to research, the site's compound annual growth rate for live streaming was expected to reach 20.1 percent in the next three years.

In the meantime, content creators who have grown up with Bilibili, affectionately dubbed by many of its early users a "shabby little website," are turning to other video platforms to make ends meet.

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