Picture Of Struggling YouTube Emerges From Report

YouTubeThe Information published a report (subscription required) about YouTube that paints a picture of the Google division as falling short of its own, internal ambitions in terms of viewing hours and revenue. (The figures below are from 9to5Google, which published excerpts of the article.)

YouTube seeks to reach an internally set goal of 1 billion “watch time” hours per day by 2016. It currently reaches “less than 300 million” hours per day. However, that’s reportedly up from 100 million in 2012.

Gross revenues at YouTube were reportedly $3.5 billion in 2013. That was below many financial analysts’ estimates, which put revenue at or above $5 billion. Nonetheless, YouTube is apparently profitable, though, pays 55 percent of revenue to “content creators.”

Former ads boss Susan Wojcicki has been brought in to accelerate revenue growth into the “tens of billions of dollars.” She replaced Salar Kamangar, who remains at Google, earlier this year.

An anticipated, streaming music service was supposed to launch under the YouTube brand, but has been delayed — due to rights issues and/or internal disputes, depending on the report.

While millions of people watch YouTube regularly and its numbers reach or often exceed traditional TV, services such as Netflix and Hulu offer “professional” or “branded” content that YouTube mostly lacks. Google Play has that content; however, it resides outside of YouTube.

The article cites “Netflix, Facebook, Twitter, Vine, Amazon, Comcast, Yahoo and others” as part of the intensifying competition facing the Google division.

When YouTube was acquired in 2006 for $1.65 billion it was Google’s bid for TV-like brand advertising dollars. It was also seen by some as a “social network” acquisition at the time. Google has largely been successful attracting brand and TV-style advertising, but is not yet able to capture TV-like ad revenue.

Related Topics: Channel: Video | Google: YouTube | Top News


About The Author: is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog Screenwerk, about SoLoMo issues and connecting the dots between online and offline. He also posts at Internet2Go, which is focused on the mobile Internet. Follow him @gsterling.

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  • http://www.mobilemartin.com/ Michael Martin


    Minor picking nits, update the Title from stuggling to struggling :)

  • http://www.bigupticksocial.com/ Meloney Hall

    These stats are really not that discouraging for me since YouTube is steadily advancing toward their goals. They are dependent upon having the best quality video content creators, as well as advertisers who venture into the realm of using video marketing to introduce their products/services to the masses. I am impressed how YouTube is focusing on truly educating their users and contributors regarding how to maximize their platform. It’s not everyone’s “cup of tea,” but for those who have bigger plans to use YouTube for content and/or advertising, I think the horizon is bright. Businesses often fall just shy of their goals because the mark is set high enough to make everyone push for it. But if you aim for the stars, but can grab the moon on your way down, that should not be of a huge concern. Business owners (large and small) learn what works and doesn’t work for them after the plans have been implemented and analyzed. I am very glad that you share this report, Greg! Thanks!

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