Bilibili, China’s YouTube equivalent, spotlights the slow-paced life and soothing scenery in this year’s spring broadcast series.
The “outdoor spring slow livestream” series, which takes viewers to four different cities over four weeks, kicked off on April 9 with a 6 hour-long livestream of the mountains and pastures of Kashgar in Xinjiang province. Next stop was the International Kite Festival in Weifang, a city in Shandong province considered the “birthplace of kites”.
The 10-hour livestream on April 15 featured brief appearances from some content creators and Bilibili’s very own “mini TV” kite. The Weifang kite festival livestream gained 10 million views on the microblogging site Weibo, where netizens shared their fondness for “magical power of the kites in the night sky”. According to Bilibili’s official Weibo account, the next stop on the tour will be Jingdezhen in Jiangxi province, which is famed for its pottery.
The concept of a “slow livestream” first drew attention in 2020, when China Central Television (CCTV) broadcast the entire process of the construction of two new hospitals in Wuhan at the beginning of the pandemic. The broadcast lasted 117 days, clocked up close to 200 million views, and drew international press coverage after a sped-up version of the footage went viral online. Bilibili then jumped on the trend with a late-night radio show in May 2022. The stream, called “Midnight Song Request Station”, played classic C-pop songs from artists like Jay Chou, whilst the visuals displayed an analogue radio.
The slow livestream trend is an alternative to the influencer and KOL-centric content that dominates livestreaming platforms. Slow livestreams invite viewers to simply watch the world go by, creating a soothing effect. Like the hospital construction livestream in 2020, slow livestreams also emulate the experience of tuning into satellite TV or radio, with everyone consuming the same content at the same time.