Bilibili, often referred to as China’s YouTube, has launched a premium pay-per-view video channel to boost revenue as Beijing’s tech crackdown hits live-streaming and video-games.
The Shanghai-based company has built a paywall for some of its offerings, such as a series called “The World’s Top 10 Unsolved Mysteries”, which it charges viewers 30 yuan ($4.50) to watch.
So far, The World’s Top 10 Unsolved Mystery series has been viewed more than 10,000 times.
The move reflects a sense of urgency felt by Bilibili, known for featuring free-to-watch videos, to diversify its revenue sources as its existing growth engines have been heavily hit by Chinese regulatory changes.
The harsh crackdown last year is a bid to rein in the influence of large internet firms by limiting video-game licences and preventing children and teenagers from paying money to live-streaming hosts.
Bilibili’s market capitalisation has shrunk from its peak of about $54 billion last February to just over $10 billion this month.
The company reported its first-quarter result earlier this month where it recorded a deeper net loss of $360.3 million. While its revenue grew 30% year-on-year to $797.3 million, it slid by 13% compared with the fourth quarter last year.
Bilibili said that it expects to publish only one game in China and one game outside of China this quarter.
- Reuters, with additional editing by George Russell