Bilibili sends satellite into space to capture educational content

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Chinese streaming service Bilibili, best known for its ACG (anime, comics & games) content, has blasted a made-to-order satellite into space to capture high-quality videos of the Earth and other celestial bodies to stream on its platform.

The Bilibili Video Satellite was one of nine launched atop a Long March-11 carrier rocket, which took off from the Yellow Sea on Tuesday, and was successfully sent into a sun-synchronous orbit. One of the other satellites was launched by Chinese broadcaster CCTV. 

Li Ni, Bilibili vice chair and chief operating officer, said the videos captured by the satellite would be used to create educational programming covering science, technology, nature and history. In future, it would also provide customised services such as aerial photography for Bilibili users. 

This week’s launch was Bilibili’s second attempt to enter space, after it lost a satellite during the failed debut flight of the Kuaizhou 11 rocket at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in July. 

Launched in 2009, Bilibili is one of China’s most popular short video and live streaming platforms and has also moved into the production and acquisition of long-form content in recent years. The platform has co-produced and co-financed documentary content with broadcasters such as National Geographic, Discovery, the BBC, Arte and Japan’s NHK. 

In April, Sony invested $400m in Bilibili for 4.98% stake. One of Bilibili’s biggest revenue earners is the online video game Fate/Grand Order, produced by Sony subsidiary Aniplex. 

More recently, Bilibili announced that it was investing $66m for a 9.9% stake in production and streaming company Huanxi Media. The two companies have also signed a five-year deal under which Bilibili and Huanxi Media’s own platform will have exclusive rights to stream Huanxi content. 

Huanxi Media previously produced Xu Zheng’s Lost In Russia, which it controversially sold to Bilibili rival Bytedance in a deal that bypassed Chinese cinemas when they were shuttered by Covid-19 earlier this year.