More than 15 years have passed since YouTube first started walking down the road of global video dominance, but just how absolute its modern monopoly truly has only been made official earlier today. The revelation came as part of YouTube parent Alphabet’s Q4 2019 financials. For the first time ever, the Mountain View-based Internet juggernaut published concrete revenue figures for YouTube. And they are utterly terrifying.
A billion dollars for every year in existence
YouTube’s turnover from advertisements (i.e. the only thing that matters) reached $15 billion last year, up by approximately 36.5% annually. That’s right, its revenue jumped by $4 billion over the last 12 months. If the fact that Alphabet disclosed its subsidiary’s revenue numbers for the first time in history isn’t enough to illustrate how insane of an accomplishment that is, let’s just put it this way – in 2019, YouTube generated a billion dollars for every year of its existence. It made just a quarter less than Netflix over the said period – while being a primarily free service with unprecedented infrastructural overhead.
Alright, that last isn’t totally representative of the nature of YouTube’s 2019 success. Namely, the firm has been aggressively growing its premium services such as YT TV, YT Music, and YT Premium for a while now. How big of a contributing factor these solutions are to YouTube’s bottom line is unknown, but what’s certain is they’ve only been gaining traction for several consecutive years.
It’s worth remembering that YouTube’s been operating as part of Google and (later) Alphabet’s corporate umbrella for the better part of the last two decades. More importantly, it has actually been losing money for the entirety of that period, or at least that’s what the industry consensus has been since forever. Then again, that very same industry was also estimating YouTube’s 2019 ad revenues to be in the ballpark of $10 billion, a figure the company surpassed more than a year ago.
The point is – YouTube is such a gargantuan media machine that predicting its performance based on conventional indicators is a nigh impossible task. How would it not be seeing how Alphabet’s subsidiary is a once-in-a-lifetime success story?