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Alphabet, for the first time, told us how much money YouTube makes

We've been able to estimate how much money YouTube makes, but now we have an official number for the first time.

Published onFebruary 3, 2020

The YouTube logo as of 2019.

In 2006, Google bought fledgling video hosting site YouTube for about $1.7 billion. Since then, YouTube has become a major aspect of our online lives, probably even more so than Google anticipated. However, we’ve been in the dark on YouTube revenue numbers, as Google’s parent company Alphabet has played them close to the chest.

Today, though, Alphabet officially revealed how much money YouTube earned in the fourth quarter of 2019. Using that same report, we’re able to deduce how much money the video site made in all of last year. Spoiler alert: it’s a lot.

According to the Alphabet report, YouTube revenue topped $4.7 billion in Q4 2019, roughly from October to the end of December. Throughout the entire year, YouTube earned Alphabet around $15.1 billion, or about 10% of Google’s total revenue.

Related: Google made its best acquisition 13 years ago, can you guess what it was?

Why is Alphabet releasing these numbers now? It’s possibly a strategy to deflect some of the bad news in the report, which concludes that the fourth quarter of 2019 was the company’s worst since 2015. Unfortunately, if that was the strategy it didn’t seem to work too well, as Alphabet’s stock dropped 3% in extended trading after the report landed.

Alphabet’s plan now will likely be to focus on the two areas in which it is growing — YouTube and Google Cloud — and put less emphasis on its star product Google Search, which is lumbering along. Alphabet is still earning tons of cash and is not in any financial danger, but investors want growth, not reliability.

You can read the full report for yourself here.

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