Alphabet Discloses $15B in 2019 YouTube Ad Revenue

In its fourth-quarter report, Google's parent broke out results for YouTube and its cloud services business for the first time.
Matthew HellerFebruary 4, 2020

Alphabet delivered another mixed bag of quarterly results as Google’s parent broke out numbers for YouTube and its cloud services business for the first time in a move toward greater transparency.

The new data showed, among other things, that YouTube is generating advertising revenue at a pace of $15 billion annually, below rough Wall Street estimates as high as $25 billion. On the cloud side, revenue grew 53% to $2.6 billion in the fourth quarter but that was below the 62% increase posted by rival Azure.

Alphabet’s shares fell 2.4% to $1,446.32 in trading Tuesday, following a 4.2% drop on Monday, as the company also reported that overall revenue rose 17% to $46.08 billion, missing analysts’ estimates of $46.94 billion.

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Fourth-quarter profit was $10.67 billion, or $15.35 per share, compared with the average estimate of $8.787 billion, or $12.53 per share.

“Our investments in deep computer science, including artificial intelligence, ambient computing and cloud computing, provide a strong base for continued growth and new opportunities across Alphabet,” Sundar Pichai, CEO of Alphabet and Google, said in a news release.

“I’m really pleased with our continued progress in search and in building two of our newer growth areas,” he added, referring to YouTube and cloud services.

Sales growth, however, fell below 20% for three of the four quarters of 2019, compared to just once in the previous three years. “While financial analysts applauded the new transparency from Alphabet, some questioned executives for the second time in the last four quarters to explain why overall revenue has been missing or just barely meeting their expectations,” Reuters reported.

Advertising still makes up the vast majority of Alphabet’s revenues, increasing 15% to $37.93 billion in the fourth quarter. Its results for the year-ago quarter showed the first signs that its ads business was slowing.

“We continue to be very focused on the benefit from better measurement, better ad delivery, better user experience,” Alphabet CFO Ruth Porat told analysts in an earnings call.

Revenue from “other bets,” which includes Alphabet’s self-driving car business Waymo, came in at $172 million versus $154 million a year ago.

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