Briefing: Anime site Bilibili quadrupled monthly paying users in 2018

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解读B站四季度财报:游戏收入持续下降 广告和直播拯救了B站 – 美股研究社

What happened: Bilibili’s fourth quarter and fiscal year report for 2018 released Wednesday shows that the gaming and animation platform continues to grow at a rapid clip, with average monthly paying users in 2018 nearly quadrupling from a year earlier to 4.4 million. The platform recorded total annual revenues of RMB 1.15 billion, a 57% year-on-year increase, and recorded a net loss of RMB 565 million during the year. Fourth quarter losses beat expectations, though gaming revenue slid for the third quarter in a row. In addition, the rate of revenue growth from advertising and live streaming has declined.

Why it’s important: Gaming has been a major source of revenue for Bilibili, which went public last March. Like Tencent, Netease, and many other companies, however, Bilibili was affected by a government crackdown last year which severely restricted the release of new titles. The platform is known for its popularity with youth, shored up by its policy to prioritize user experience over video ads, limiting advertising income. However, paying user growth is a positive sign, as well as its relationships with stakeholders Alibaba and Tencent. Earlier this month, Alibaba’s e-commerce site Taobao acquired an 8% stake in Bilibili after agreeing to help convert its content into commercial products.

Correction: Due to an editing error, an earlier version of this post stated that Bilibili’s monthly paying users tripled from 2017 to 2018. In fact, that figure quadrupled.