Report on the influence of user generated content on the Chinese bullet screen video website.
Due to the fast development of economy and technology, the concept of Web2.0 was put forward in 2004. Depending on the technical advantages of Web2.0, a growing number of video sites appear in people’s lives. Meikle and Young (2012) believed that the Web2.0 created the creative audience. In the past, media such as television and radio were only responsible for the one-way transmission of news and information to the audience, but in the era of Web2.0 network media are increasingly concerned about the user interaction. Graeber (2010) pointed out that the role of the media is to communicate with forth and return. This shows that the function of the media is not only the dissemination of information but also should accept the user feedback information. In today’s video media sites, the audience not just to receive information but began to create the user generated content (UGC). In video sites, user generated content is mainly in two forms: text (barrage, comments and articles) and video (original and Remix). Nowadays, the most video sites of China have a barrage and upload function, but the main user group of generated content is still concentrated in a bullet screen video website. This report will discuss the significance and influence of user generated content on these sites and take the main bullet screen (Barrage) video sites as examples to analyze and compare these cases. At the same time, it will think about the problems of this kind of website in the environment of user’s participation culture.
In the case of Bilibili, Bilibili bullet screen video site was established in 2009, it was known as the B station in China. The site was originally aimed at the development of sub-cultural ACG (Animation, Comic, Game) content, the main business is to play Japanese animation and TV series. The main users of it are anime fans and Otaku group crowd, after several years of development, it has become the largest and most famous Chinese bullet screen video site. The development of subculture is the result of cultural, economic and social capital circulation (Booth, 2012 cited in Shiga, 2007), Thanks to the rapid development of economy and culture, the number of fans of bullet screen site is also continuing to increase. Shortly after the establishment of the website, the page views of Bilibili rose sharply. The bullet screen (barrage) system is a real-time commentary text system, some people call it ‘danmu’. At that time, the bullet screen was a kind of novelty, it could send users’ comments on the video screen and those bullet screen information could be seen by other audiences. It has a great attraction to the audience who watching the video. the managers of B station found the potential of the user’s original content, as a result of that, they opened the user’s video upload function. These videos are mostly produced by fans by using existing resources. Fans group is a powerful group of media creation, they create personalized media content according to personal preferences (Meikle and young, 2012). These videos reflect the user’s habits and hobbies, as well as their personal views and ideas. The user is no longer a passive consumer and becomes a participant and creator (Bruns, 2007).
Figure1. Jiang, Y. (2016) The homepage of Bilibili
Figure2. Bilibili. (2016) The ‘danmu’ of a popular video in Bilibili
The modern time is called the era of culture remix (Booth, 2012 cited in Manovich, 2007). Remixed mashup video is becoming more recognized and welcomed by the masses. Booth (2012) illustrate that the existence of mashup conforms to the value orientation of subculture and helps to construct the subculture. At the technical level, Web2.0 provides a good platform for people. The Internet allows people to have more opportunities to participate in the process of production and consumption (Clay, 2011). At the same time, the network provides convenience for storing text, audio and video resources in the environment of media convergence (Meikle & Young, 2012). This allows the audience to have enough materials and topics can play a subjective initiative to create new content. The above reasons explain the reasons for the rise of the user generated content and participatory culture in these bullet screen video sites to a certain extent.
The concept about produsage as a model describes the creation environment of the user generated content (Bruns 2007). People use ‘produser’ to refer to those users who create the generated content, in these sites produser is called Uper, meaning builders of videos and resources. In the bullet screen video sites, Upers remix the different animation or video fragments of the drama together to produce a generated MV or funny video. The videos and resources they have chosen are often popular with audiences, it makes they have a broad audience base, so they can get more attention to a great extent. Booth (2012) pointed out that the video of the mashup is not only the rewrite of image and sound but a new content in line with the user’s taste, it has a special significance. This means that different ideas or opinions are fused together and make up for each other to achieve greater development. Users participate in the creation process of video and generate different content. Mashup fully expresses a kind of possibility of the participatory culture (Booth, 2012). Social hot events, the new series of animation, the new songs of singers and new TV shows with the time in the continuous production, as a result of that, users always have endless stories and topics. Users through these generated videos to express their preferences, satire current events and provide more material and reference for other users. Booth (2012) showed that the most important issue of mashup video creation process is to keep active and continuous construction. A large number of users and quality fans of bullet screen video websites makes sites will continue to produce user generated content and ensure the activity and vitality of websites. The fans’ thinking is more active, the content is more to be understood and accepted by the public (Meikle & Young 2012). Due to the increasing number of user and diversity in the form of works. The content of site from the original animation and music extend to other areas, such as politics, films and technology.
Another example is the Acfun barrage video site, its main business is similar to Bilibili, but the user interaction system of the website is more perfect. If the advantage of B station is the user generated video, then the advantage of the A station is the user generated text. Acfun has an article section, users can publish articles in this area. The article area is also divided into many sub-columns, its content form is very rich, from the anime and game to the emotion and military topic. These sections and content often have a close inner connection with the bullet screen and the comments below the video. This makes the user variety of generated text have a good combination. Fans discuss the personal hobbies or hot topics to achieve interaction. In addition, these texts provide the direction and resources for the generated video. These texts form a huge database in Acfun, it includes the user’s preferences and the opinions of the social hot topics. Meikle & Young (2012 cited in Halls, 2006) believe that the audience is divided into three types: active , Consultative and passive type. Active users create new content and integrate the resources together. Most nonproductive users are responsible for finding valuable events and topics (Clay, 2011). When the viewing of a topic or a video reaches a certain amount, this resource will automatically enter the home page. The nonproductive audience does not produce content actively, but they use their own mouse and keyboard to make a vote to decide the good resources into more people’s attention. Subsequently, active users (Uper) will use these resources to produce more related content, including video and articles. This is like an industrial chain or factory workshop, the user is orderly and they have a clear division of labor. User generated content greatly stimulating the productivity of these sites and the user’s enthusiasm, it allows users to truly participate in the construction of the site and the network community. At the same time, the development of these sites also promotes the progress of participatory cultural and users generated content.
Figure3. Beimenzhibei (2016) Technology News in Acfun article section
Every coin has two sides. User generated content has brought benefits to the development of the bullet screen video sites, but the management and control of the resource usage is difficult. A large number of resources are used to produce the user generated content without the author’s permission. The problem of intellectual property rights cannot be ignored. It makes the editing, sharing and dissemination of these video into an embarrassing position (Clay, 2011). With the development of the website, this problem also appears in front of people. According to the survey of Phillips and Street (2015), individualism is one of the important factors that deciding people’s attitude towards intellectual property rights, which depends on the influence of copyright on real income or expected income. The website and content producers through video production and resources to get profits but the owner of the original resource cannot get any income. The ‘Downfall’ is a classic film, it tells the story of Hitler in the last days of his life. Fragments in this film have been repeatedly cited by users and clips into the different video, this behavior has ever caused the dissatisfaction of the film company (Clay, 2011). The same thing has happened in Acfun and Bilibili, one classic example of that is a video clip about the debate of Zhu Geliang and Wang Lang on the battlefield. Zhu Geliang is one of the most famous military strategists in ancient China. The story is that he and a strategist named Wang Lang discussed for justice and injustice on the battlefield. This video is excerpted from the TV series’ Romance of the three kingdoms’ and it has been re-edit into thousands of new videos by users of Acfun and Bilibili. There are many examples like this. In view of this, the website has removed a part of the video and bought a large number of resources from the copyright owner. The content ID of Youtube creates a new likelihood of economic model for copyright holders (Clay, 2011). Now the resources of bullet screen video websites will also be posted on a similar label, a part of the video is not permitted to download and use. Clay (2011) thinks that people need to protect a reasonable space of resources usage. Video sites try to not only protect the interests of the author but maintain the user’s creativity. This problem has been solved to a certain extent, however, it may reduce the user’s enthusiasm, the infringement of copyright is still not completely eliminated.
Video1. ZiHeng, (2016) User generated video ‘Rap of the debate between Zhu Geliang and Wang Lang’
This report has selected the two most important Chinese bullet screen video sites, BiliBili and Acfun as research examples to analyze the impact of UGC on these sites. the development of technology gives users the opportunity to participate in the creation of content, the rise of participatory culture has stimulated the enthusiasm of the user. Media is always social and participatory (Clay, 2011). User generated content is one of the forms of expression of media participation. In the bullet screen video website, the user’s creativity and imagination are liberated by the network platform. Users are no longer simply recipients but participate in the creation of content. The user generated content has brought great benefits to bullet screen video sites, it includes the user quantity, viewing and money. However, it also brings the risk of copyright issues. These websites have taken some means to solve the problem and have made some progress, but the problem still exists.
Beimenzhibei (2016) New pictures of Galaxy J3, Acfun, [Image online]: http://www.acfun.tv/a/ac3271564
Bilibili. (2016) Byousoku 5 Centimeter, Bilibili, [Image online]: http://bangumi.bilibili.com/anime/v/86701
Booth, P. (2012) ‘Mashup as temporal amalgam: Time, taste, and textuality’, Transformative Works and Cultures, 9, pp.1-6.
Bruns, A. (2007) ‘Produsage: Towards a Broader Framework for User-Led Content Creation,’ in Proceedings Creativity & Cognition, 6,pp.2-7.
Clay, A. (2011) ‘Blocking, Tracking, and Monetizing: YouTube Copyright Control and the Downfall Parodies’, in LovInk, G. and Somers Miles, R. (eds.) Video Vortex Reader II: Moving Images Beyond YouTube (Institute of Network Cultures, Amsterdam 2011), pp.219-233.
Graeber, D. (2010) ‘Exchange’, in Mitchell W.J.T. and Hansen, M. (eds.) Critical Terms for Media Studies. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, pp. 217-232.
Jiang, Y. (2016) Bilibili – The Interactive Video Sharing Website. Interactive media archive. https://interactivemediaarchive.wordpress.com/bilibili-the-interactive-video-sharing-website/
Meikle, G. and Young, S. (2012) ‘Creative Audiences’ chapter from Media Convergence. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, pp.103-126.
Phillips, T. and Street, J. (2015) ‘Copyright and Musicians at the Digital Margins’, Media, Culture & Society, 37(3), pp.342-358.
ZiHeng. (2016) Rap of the debate between Zhu Geliang and Wang Lang, Bilibili, [Video online]: http://www.bilibili.com/video/av3910053/