Bilibili, the leading video community for young generations in China, held “The Most Beautiful Night of 2021” New Year’s Eve gala on Friday, a cultural celebration for audiences to mark the end of the year. The peak popularity index of the livestream reached 310 million.
This year the platform launched a “parallel performances” model, offering an innovative viewing experience. Audience members who registered for the livestream before 16:30 on December 31, could choose to watch the gala via the themed-versions, “Fantasy Space” or “Magical Space”. Both formats of the show contained 31 sets of acts and were livestreamed simultaneously. However, some of the acts in the two versions were different and specially designed to mirror each other.
Despite the different versions, viewers watching both shows were still able to communicate on the same screen. In addition to the normal streaming bullet chats from viewers watching the same version, users also saw bullet chats streaming in reverse direction, which indicated messages coming from users watching the other version.
This is the third year for Bilibili to host a New Year’s Eve gala. “The Most Beautiful Night of 2020”, saw its popularity index more than triple in size compared to 2019 during the livestream, achieving 120 million playbacks within 48 hours.
The gala embraces audiences of all interests by presenting integrating cultural content, including mainstream and niche content; traditional and modern cultures; and Chinese and international flavors. It also features iconic IPs from animation, games, music, films and TV shows that have deeply impacted Chinese youth culture.
“We hope that our New Year’s Eve gala can continue to explore content loved by Chinese young people,” said Carly Lee, vice chairwoman of the board of directors and chief operating officer of Bilibili, after the airing of 2020 Gala. “Through re-interpreting classic IPs and cultural touchstones, we transformed ‘traditional’ into ‘popular’ and ‘old-fashioned’ into ‘avant-garde,’ reflecting the charm of blending diverse cultures.”
The IPs showcased in this year’s gala included the Transformers series, the global sensational games, League of Legends and Genshin Impact, the widely acclaimed Chinese animations, Incarnation and Link Click, and the Chinese film, Let the Bullets Fly. Each was presented with creative performances or surprising mashups.
For example, when world-renowned Croatian pianist, Maksim Mrvica, played The Flight of the Bumblebee, beloved Transformerscharacter Bumblebee appeared on stage. Mrvica then performed Transformers Prime from the franchise’s soundtrack accompanied by a symphony and a Chinese orchestra. Two other transformers, Optimus Prime and Megatron, also joined the performance, celebrating the debut of Transformers characters at a Chinese New Year’s Eve gala.
Eight Bilibili content creators and three esports players covered Lonely Warriors, the Chinese theme song for Arcane: League of Legends, the first animated series of the game. With the help of high-tech visual effects, the gala also brought to the stage scenes of Liyue Harbor from the global smash hit game, Genshin Impact.
“The animation, games and films that people consume from their teenage years through their 30s form the most essential part of their psyche. So, it’s very important we pay tribute to classic IPs at Bilibili galas to fulfill the emotional needs of our users,” said Fox Yang, vice president of Bilibili and the executive director of Bilibili New Year’s Eve galas.
“We hope to fully demonstrate the psyche and cultural aesthetics of Bilibili users through the galas,” Yang added.“We incorporated various cultural elements throughout the show, knowing that young generations have a very strong ability to understand and absorb different types of culture. We also took Bilibili’s content ecosystem and hot topics into consideration to cater to Bilibili user tastes.”
“Mashups” have always been a favorite of Chinese young people for the fresh viewing experience provided by the mix of unexpected cultural elements. Chinese soprano Guo Sen and Bilibili content creator Pan Hangwei mashed up classic and pop music by performing a suite of songs in bel canto including Bad Guy by Billie Eilish, and Love You at 105°C, a catchy song that went viral on the Chinese internet in 2021. China’s top musician, Li Yanliang, played guitar alongside a symphony and rock band, performing a suite of songs from Japanese anime soundtracks.
Some shows were inspired by the past year’s trending content on Bilibili. For example, Chinese band Mosaic pranked the audience by playing Rick Astley’s Never Gonna Give You Up, before their actual performance. The “Rick Roll” was one of Bilibili users’ favorite memes in 2021.
Because more Bilibili users have begun to embrace and actively promote traditional Chinese culture, the gala featured a list of performances related to the topic. An act from Chinese dance drama Poetic Dance: The Journey of a Legendary Landscape Painting, impressed the viewers with its beautiful Chinese aesthetics. In the past year, 136 million users watched content related to traditional Chinese culture on Bilibili. As of October 2021, over two million related videos had been uploaded on Bilibili, covering Chinese opera, traditional paintings, poetry, food and more.
Bilibili has become the go-to platform for young generations to find high-quality content and entertainment.
According to its Q3 financial results, the platform has amassed over 267 million monthly active users and 2.7 million monthly active content creators. As a full- spectrum video community Bilibili offers diverse content encompassing different interests including lifestyle, game, entertainment, anime, knowledge and more. The platform’s unique community culture, which values expression and user relationships enables the creation and continuous sharing of high-quality content.