Knowledge-sharing content is a newly developed genre on social media platforms (Tan, 2013). This generally refers to content about complicated scientific and technological issues, business and finance, and general knowledge of humanities and history delivered in a dynamic and exciting video format (Tian, 2021). According to Social Blade’s ranking of YouTube content producers in June 2020, knowledge-sharing content producers, MIT OpenCourseWare and ASAP Science are among the top five subscribers base globally (Wang & Zhang, 2022). Similarly, knowledge-sharing content is also popular in the Chinese social media landscape, especially on the Chinese YouTube-like platform Bilibili (Cao, 2019; Wu, 2020). Bilibili is very relevant as it was first established as an animation-streaming platform in China, which subsequently evolved into a social media platform with 202 million monthly active users (Schneider, 2021). Moreover, the platform set up a "knowledge division" zone in 2020, demonstrating its regard for knowledge-sharing content as an essential part of the platform ecology (Tian, 2021). However, knowledge-sharing content producers on the Chinese platform Bilibili face many problems. Firstly, they have few alternative options as it is inconvenient for the Chinese audience to access YouTube or other platforms outside China (Xu,2020). Secondly, knowledge-based content does not conform to the features of other Chinese social media platforms, such as Douyin (Chinese TikTok) or Kuai Shou (a similar platform to TikTok that targets more third- and fourth-tiered cities as well as small towns in China) (Lin & de Kloet, 2019). Therefore, with few alternatives and harsh censorship, knowledge-sharing content producers are forced to stick with Bilibili and adapt to its infrastructure and governance framework. In terms of platform infrastructure, Bilibili has many distinctive technological features. Firstly, its danmu (bullet-chatting) feature, which allows users to send real-time on-screen comments while watching videos, generates a strong feeling of interaction between end-users and content producers (Chen, 2021). Furthermore, in addition to subscriptions, its unique feature toubi (coins donation), a virtual coin donated to the video, was claimed by Bilibili to help content creators generate more traffic and earn more money (Wu, 2020). The feature makes monetization more dependent on end-users, but how it functions remains vague. In terms of governance, Bilibili is constantly subjected to government censorship mainly because danmu comments are tricky to regulate and filter. Moreover, the conflict between Bilibili's active community and China's socio-political realities can significantly impact the content producers (Schneider, 2021). Extensive studies have been conducted concerning content producers' visibility and ability to monetize their content on platforms (Arriagada&Ibáñez, 2020; Bishop, 2018, 2019, 2020). Scholars have pointed out that vloggers, live-streamers, and other types of content creators are flexible in switching between platforms and engage in a variety of revenue-generating techniques(Cunningham & Craig, 2019; Duffy et al., 2021; Glatt, 2021; Hou, 2019; Johnson & Woodcock, 2019). However, research is lacking on knowledge-sharing content producers in particular. In this context, this research explores how knowledge-sharing content producers create visibility and monetize their content on the Chinese platform Bilibili based on qualitative interviews with influential knowledge-sharing content producers.

René König
Media & Business
Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication

Xiaoxi Zhang. (2022, December 2). How do knowledge-sharing content producers create visibility and make money on the Chinese platform Bilibili. Media & Business. Retrieved from