Chinese video-sharing platform Bilibili restructures content units, bets on live streaming amid pressure to turn a profit

By Ann Cao

The company set up a new unit to help its three million content creators make money, and appointed a new executive in charge of video game commercialisation. Bilibili narrowed its net loss by 36% in 2023 to US$677.6mil compared to the previous year, while revenue increased 3% to 22.5bil yuan. — SCMP

Chinese video-sharing platform Bilibili has restructured its content units and is doubling down on the live-streaming business, as the US and Hong Kong-listed company struggles to make a profit.

Bilibili recently revamped its major operations department and separated multiple live streaming-related units, forming a new live-streaming centre, while also ramping up commercialisation of its content creator and video gaming businesses, according to a report by Chinese media LatePost.

The company also set up a new unit to help its three million content creators make money, and appointed a new executive to take charge of its video gaming commercialisation unit, according to the LatePost report on Monday.

The changes were confirmed to the South China Morning Post by people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified.

The moves mark the latest in a series of efforts by the Shanghai-based video platform to adjust and consolidate its assets over the past two years, as it faces mounting pressure to turn a profit since going public on Nasdaq in 2018.

They follow a previous round of key personnel changes at core units of Bilibili, such as live streaming and marketing, as reported by Chinese media Jiemian in January.

The company narrowed its net loss by 36% in 2023 to 4.8bil yuan (RM3.15bil or US$677.6mil) compared to the previous year, while revenue increased 3% to 22.5bil yuan (RM14.78bil).

Bilibili is now pinning hopes on livestreaming to help it turn a profit. In 2023, revenues from value-added services, which included livestreaming income, grew 14% year on year to 9.9bil yuan (RM6.50bil), accounting for 44% of the total revenue.

When announcing earnings in March, Bilibili chairman and CEO Chen Rui said the company has “further advanced our commercialisation strategy and improved various monetisation products” in the past year.

A mobile phone displays the logo of Bilibili, with a screen showing its web page in the background. Photo: Shutterstock Images

He said Bilibili made some “commercial progress” in 2023, reflected in the 30% year-on-year growth in the number of content creators who earned income on the platform.

The company has also been adjusting its video game business, which was once a key revenue driver and came under the direct management of Chen in late 2022.

Wu Yan, the new head of the “game commercialisation ecology unit”, will report to chief operating officer Li Ni after the restructuring.

Bilibili’s revenue from mobile games dropped 20% year on year to 4bil yuan (RM2.62bil) in 2023, mainly attributable to fewer new title launches as well as lower revenue contributions from certain games, according to the company.

Other Chinese Big Tech companies, such as Alibaba Group Holding, which owns the Post, have been restructuring over the past year to seek new growth amid a harsh economic environment and slower growth in the domestic internet sector.

Bilibili is also stepping up partnerships with external partners, such as China’s major ecommerce platforms, to grow its base of 100 million daily active users. Last month, it reportedly added cross-platform links to Taobao Live, the livestreaming platform of Alibaba’s prime domestic online shopping marketplace, in the latest attempt to generate more revenue. – South China Morning Post

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