Rethinking the Experience of Youthful Audiences: A Subculture Revelry and danmaku Interaction Study on Video Websites


Young people are frequently seen to be in the vanguard of new audience trends and emerging practices of consumption and engagement. As a major player in the Internet and social media, young audiences contribute to the Internet environment and provide new forms of connection through its online presence. As the mainstream culture of the Internet develops, the subcultures derived from the mother culture are constantly diversified. The online subculture community has become a gathering place for young audiences to express their opinions and vent their emotions on the Internet. Studying the audience ecology of the Bilibili website, one of the world ’s largest gatherings of online subcultures and secondary cultures, is a great opportunity to rethink the experience of young audiences.

Danmaku(Barrage), first used as a military term, refers to the use of intensive firepower to bombard a certain area. Danmaku was first applied to Niconico, an online video sharing website in Japan. Nowadays, Danmaku which is widely used in video sites in Asia can be understood as comments appearing densely on video screens, becoming a unique postmodern Internet in the East Asian cultural circle. China ’s bilibili video website had 101 million monthly active users in the first quarter, creating more than 1 billion danmaku in 2018. The characteristics of danmaku's open interaction, real-time sharing, and gratification are well received by young audiences.

This article reviews the interactive research of Internet audiences using Uses and Gratification Theory, especially young audiences and subcultural groups. To re-understand the reasons for young audiences' interaction and emotional carnival in video sites, the following three questions need to be answered: (1) Who are the main participants of the video site's danmaku? (2) What are the common features and characteristics of sub-cultural groups on video websites? (3) Why do young audiences choose to participate in the danmaku?

The Bilibili website received a high rating of 9.2 points in user reviews in the 2020 New Year's Eve Party, and the entire program was arranged based on the video evaluation of the audience in 2019. In this study, a python program was used to capture the 8,663 danmaku of the party as the content of qualitative analysis, and the subject clustering and analysis were summarized through the form of grounded theory and coding: (1) Summary of danmaku content ;(2) Forms and Themes of danmaku Interaction ;(3) Reasons for Video danmaku Carnival of Subcultural Groups. In the end, this study provides samples and contributions for rethinking the experience of young audiences based on the results of the interactive content analysis of danmaku.