China’s YouTube-like platform Bilibili has found an unlikely internet celebrity in Song Hao, an unassuming educator who began uploading lectures in 2016 upon the encouragement of his students.
The 42-year-old is an Associate Professor at Shandong University of Finance and Economics and has been named one of Bilibili’s Top 100 Channels of 2023. Hao’s channel, where he uploads full lectures on advanced mathematics, has amassed an impressive 7.2 million subscribers and 140 million views on some videos.
But it’s not these figures that have earned him recognition at Bilibili. Since 2021, the platform has been championing an alternative approach to honouring creators. Instead of focussing on views or subscribers alone, Bilibili shines a light on creators who encapsulate the best of the platform’s expertise, influence, and innovation.
This year, Hao snagged the award for “Longest Viewing Time”, clocking up more cumulative hours of viewing time than any other channel on the platform, which specialises in medium- and long-form videos. Bilibili did not disclose the precise total viewing time.
Bilibili shared the full list via their official WeChat account, but the exact selection process for the Top 100 remains shrouded in mystery. The omission of some extremely popular creators has even led some netizens to say the list is arbitrary, but industry analysts insist the list should be seen merely as a “guide”. The purpose of the guide is to encourage all content creators to focus on their key target audience and subject matter. Bilibili seems to be intentionally rewarding creators with clear specialist content areas in order to distinguish itself from the hordes of “generic” content on platforms like Douyin.